South African Private Colleges Are Subject To Annual Audits

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There are a number of unregistered and unaccredited institutions of higher learning. This leaves both students and parents falling victim to scams, however, some efforts are being made to resolve this.

 


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When institutions of higher learning kicked off their 2022 academic year, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) discovered that two Pretoria-based private colleges were registered but one of these institutions had an expired accreditation certificate.

This was followed by DHET Deputy Minister, Buti Manamela advising the college to remove the certificate that was on display because this is misleading to the public.

Annually, the department receives news of students and parents falling victim to institutions of higher learning that have issues with accreditation.

The Parliamentary Higher Education Portfolio Committee has probed whether the Council on Higher Education (CHE) was addressing students being enrolled in institutions that were not accredited.

In a statement, the Council’s chairperson, Vuyo Memani-Sedile said:

Annually, CHE audits selected several institutions and this also includes private institutions as they are subject to these audits. 

According to Memani-Sedile, the Council does not work with tertiary institutions that have not been accredited. It is for this reason that the DHET has encouraged students and parents to check if their college is registered and accredited in South Africa.

To verify the registration of private colleges and private higher institutions, please consult the following channels:

  • Department of Higher Education and Training official website: www.dhet.gov.za
  • DHET Call Centre: 0800 87 2222
  • SMS or send “Please Call Me”: 072 204 5056.

However, registered institutions have the legal obligation to ensure that the programmes and qualifications for which they seek to enroll are accredited and registered.

All programmes and qualifications offered by registered institutions should also be reflected as such against the name of each institution that appears in the registers.

In monitoring the state of higher education, the CHE has gone through its quality assurance for both public and private institutions.

The first part of quality assurance was accreditation because the entity needed to look at the programmes the institution wanted CHE to accredit. 

Another part of quality assurance was the institutional audits, which followed up on whether the institution still qualifies for accreditation.

Here's How South African Private Colleges Can Be Registered?

In order for private institutions to offer higher education programmes in South Africa, they must register with DHET.

This process ensures quality education and aligns qualifications with government policy and legislation. 

Private institutions must provide necessary documents including a business plan, company registration documents, and surety agreement to register their programmes with the department. 

Foreign applicants must also provide proof of recognition and accreditation in their home country. 

Once registered, accreditation from the Higher Education Quality Committee and recognition from the South African Qualifications Authority must be obtained.

This process is more focused on the quality of the education provided to ensure that students are receiving a quality education and the public can have faith in the qualifications received from private institutions.

 

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At the beginning of the 2022 academic year, the Department of Higher Education and Training had discovered two registered private colleges, with one of them having an expired accreditation certificate. Umalusi has been working to resolve issues of this nature in a number of institutions.

 

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