DHET embarks on inspection blitz on private PE colleges

2018-01-31 06:01

THE Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) visited close to 10 private colleges in Port Elizabeth last week on an inspection campaign aimed at enforcing compliance with the relevant legislations in the private college sector.

Speaking to Express, DHET director for the registration of private higher education institutions, Shaheeda Essack, said reports of illegal schools had surfaced over the years with students falling prey to unregistered and illegal colleges.

“The biggest challenge facing prospective students is the inability to verify the accreditation of foreign qualifications as well as online degrees,” Essack said.

She described how some registered private colleges offer unaccredited programmes, “You’ll find that the college is accredited to offer one programme and they will then also offer a range of unaccredited programmes.”

Essack said the department was pleasantly surprised that there were no serious issues in the Bay, adding that the few suspicious colleges that they did visit were properly accredited and registered.

The department, however, pointed out that one query that seemed to be an issue is the credentials of matric rewrite centres. For that, we have referred students to the district offices, she said. “They need to call the district offices to verify the credentials of the matric rewrite centres on 041 403 4400.”

The department also urged prospective students to investigate properly before applying at private colleges.

“Students need to look out for three things: they need to check if the college, the programme and the site are approved. In order to verify such they need to ask the college for the letter of accreditation; they can then call the relevant SETA directly to verify.”

Students need to look for the certificate of registration issued by the department, which would be displayed on the premises of the college, Essack said.

“Again, they need to look out for the college’s, programme and site because they can only offer programmes and approved sites of delivery.

“Any programmes offered outside of the legal framework needs to be scrutinised and questioned.

“Students who can’t access the websites can call the department on 0800 872 222.”

Responding to the department’s action on private education institutions that are not registered, Essack said the only way they can intervene is to take the matter to the South African Police Service.

“We’ve got to engage with the police and it does not take long to shut the unregistered colleges down, but it’s a legal process, so, it’s not immediate.”

She said the department was doing its best to turn around the colleges which were not complying.
– THANDI SETOKOE

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