Beware of 'fly-by-night' colleges

2011-01-25 15:28
Pretoria - Students and parents were advised on Tuesday to consult the department of higher education and training to avoid being fleeced by illegal, or "fly-by-night" tertiary institutions.

"These 'fly-by-night' institutions mislead prospective parents and students into believing that they are legally registered entities and accredited by accreditation bodies," the National Consumer Commission said in a statement.

"Only pay registration fees or other fees after confirming that the institution is registered and accredited with relevant bodies and for the relevant courses."

The obvious fraudsters made no attempt to register and operate as colleges or similar tertiary institutions and purely intended to defraud people.

In other instances entities were legitimate, but only accredited for certain programmes, or their registration was still pending approval, or had been granted only provisionally.

The public should therefore contact the education department to confirm whether the institution and the courses it offered were registered with higher education department.

"If provisional approval has been granted to the entity note that there is some risk involved in enrolling," the commission said.

"The department of education must still do an audit and determine if the entity's finances, compliance procedures, sustainability model, etc are in order before granting or revoking the registration."

Legitimate institutions and places of employment did not recognise certificates issued by these unregistered institutions.

Students and parents can visit the department's website at or call 012 312 5881/5695/5667.
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