Umalusi Warns Of Fake Online Schools And Fake Matric Certificates



Umalusi has raised concerns about the increase in the rapidly growing number of online schools in South Africa. The accreditation body warned that some of these institutions have not been accredited and are offering bogus qualifications.



Quality Assurance Body, Umalusi, has raised concerns surrounding the sudden emergence of online schools in South Africa. 

In a statement released on Friday (23 June), Umalusi said it is currently working with the South African Police Service (SAPS) on various cases concerning unaccredited online institutions admitting learners into non-existent programmes.

The accreditation body said such institutions circulate fake Umalusi accreditation certificates or fake emails purporting to be accredited by Umalusi.

Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi stressed:

To date, Umalusi has not accredited any online school to offer any of its qualifications. In the same vein, Umalusi is unaware that any provincial education department has registered any such institution.

The accreditation body then urged the public to visit its website to verify the accreditation status of an independent school or a private college, before enrolling their children and trusting it blindly. 

Meanwhile, the Association for Distance Education Providers and Online Schools in the country has disputed statements made by Umalusi that the public can verify the legitimacy of schools on their website.

Coleen Cronje, the Chairperson of the Association for Distance Education Providers noted that although no online schools are listed on the Umalusi website, some online schools have been granted a concession to enroll learners for the National Senior Certificate examinations (NSC).

She explains that the county’s current legislation does not allow online schools and distance providers at Basic Education level to register and to become accredited with Umalusi.

Cronje stressed that they were worried that parents would now feel that their children and their education were now in jeopardy as a result of the statement released by Umalusi.

Cronje added:

We would just like to clarify that quite a few of online schools are in a situation where they've got concession from Umalusi to offer the National Senior Certificate which is the NSC.

Vetting process for Online Schools

Cronje says the vetting process for online schools is done though the examination boards.

She adds that Umalusi and examination boards, namely the independent examination board and the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI) have been vetting, moderating, and making sure online schools comply with the requirements of the NSC.

We have been lobbying for a number of years to be registered, but for us to be registered we need to be legislated as being a proper recognized alternative education model.

According to Cronje, once online schools have been registered, they can then apply for accreditation.  She noted “This is the reason why we are actually so grateful to Umalusi and the examination boards.”

Fake Matric Certificates

Umalusi also warned members of the public against purchasing qualification certificates. The body noted an increase in the reported cases of fake certificates being sold to unsuspecting members of the public. 

Umalusi is the only institution in South Africa that is legislatively mandated to issue certificates of learner achievement in respect of the NSC, SC(a), NC(V) levels 2-4, N2-N3, and GETC: ABET.

Furthermore, Umalusi called on members of the public to report any case that involves operating an illegal institution to the relevant provincial education department.

The selling or buying of fraudulent certificates can be reported through their toll-free number contactable on 0800 409 409. Alternatively, they can send an email to [email protected]


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