In response to the segment carried on Carte Blanche on Sunday 9 September 2012 regarding the offering of unregistered higher education programmes to unsuspecting young people, the DA Youth is today writing to the Minister for Higher Education and Training to request he put urgent steps in place to ensure all private higher education institutions comply with the National Qualifications Act in time for the start of the 2013 academic year.
According to Carte Blanche, 12 of the courses offered by Damelin, one of the largest private higher education institutions in South Africa, are not registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training. Offering these courses without the requisite registration is an offence.
Not only have these courses been failed to be registered, and therefore quality assured, but it also appears as if students enrolling for them have been misled to believe they will be obtaining recognized qualifications.
In addition to writing to Minister Nzimande, we have also requested DA Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Training, Dr. Annelie Lotriet MP, to submit parliamentary questions to determine the names of private higher education institutions in addition to Damelin that have been identified by the Department as offering non-accredited courses, as well as the names of private higher education institutions that are themselves not registered to operate.
It is hard enough already in South Africa for young people to access tertiary education, but for those who do to be subject to the risk that their years of study will become worthless, is unacceptable.
The Deputy Director of Private Higher Education, Dr Shaheeda Essack, asserts that the Department of Higher Education and Training is aware that there is widespread malpractice in the private higher education sector. The Department must therefore act urgently to put steps in place to protect students from those who seek to exploit young people through the commoditization of education.