About  900 000 matriculants, enrolled for this year’s matric exams, an increase of more than 64 000 compared to 2021. The number of part-time enrolments increased from 42 884 in 2021 to 55 734 in 2022.  This makes this year’s candidates the largest National Senior Certificate (NSC) group to date.

The reality of it all is that most of the students will not be going to university for a myriad of reasons. Unfortunately, unbeknown to them some learners will continue to enroll for further education at bogus collleges that continue to mushroom.

One such victim is Lerato Mvelase (which is not her real name), who has already lost a year after attending a bogus college. “It’s been 8 months now and I’m not even sure if we going to receive our qualifications by the end of the year”.

 For this United City College student from  Bekkersdale, Westrand her dream of becoming a teacher has been shattered. In the eight months that she’s been at the college,  she alleges that their lecturers do not even know what they are teaching. “One of them told us she and our director attend the same church and she was hooked-up by her.

We don’t have exams or tests all we do is presentations. We don’t have textbooks, we are using one old textbook. In most cases, we are just given marks for work we didn’t even do”. Another student at the same institution, Rethabile Tshwene (which is also not her real name) confirmed that she did not receive a student card. She also recalled that an assessor came to check their school work and then they were promised to graduate without writing any exams.

“The structure of this school is concerning, we started off by studying Numeracy and English as they were busy trying to get other lecturers for Life Sciences and other modules but that never happened.

“We were promised to get stipends, others managed to get them but some did not. You’d get a notification that R2000 have been deposited into your account but when you try to withdraw the money, the account only has R500,” added a 24 year, Thabo Tladi (which is also not his real name).

United City College Director, Nomahlubi Mbeki could not comment or clear the institution’s name when asked about the allegations made against her institution.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) department has advised leaners to do a thorough background check before applying. For its part, DHET has managed to shut down few of these illegal colleges, while others are still being investigated to avoid issues whereby students receive credentials and qualifications that are not recognized by the department and South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

According to the Director of Registrations at the Department of Higher Education, Dr Shaheeda Essack, it is important thatstudents check the history of the institutions of their choice, ask friends or individuals who happened to attend at that particular institution but most importantly, to consult with department through online registers to verify their legitimacy.

“Nowadays, is easy for us parents to get tricked by these illegitimate colleges because technology has advanced, so getting these fake emails and SMSs makes them seem credible”,  said a mother of a Grade 12 learner, Palesa Mmabalola.

More work needs to be taken to place on the online provision of illegal qualifications and those colleges that happen to cater for students wanting to venture in nursing and medical school.

Essack advised that to identify whether an institution is legitimate or not students should also look at t its infrastructure looks like, adding that if the college lacks basic levels of professionalism, it should immediately raise a red flag.

Students should ask the college to refer them to past students and alumni, so that they can get a better sense of what it is the college offers,” she added.

DHET urges victims of bogus colleges to report them to the department or report them to the South African Police Services (SAPS).

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