Private Colleges Have Been Deregistered: Now What?

by Staff Reporter

In March 2024, news of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) deregistering certain private colleges in South Africa sent the education space into a whirlwind, with the biggest question at the epicentre of every student’s mind: “What does this mean?” In this article, we answer all the burning questions students may have about these deregistered private colleges, as well as a way forward.

Join us, as we unpack everything there is to know about the deregistered Educor colleges in South Africa.

Key takeaways:

Table of Contents

private colleges

Which Private Colleges Have Been Deregistered in South Africa?

On 26 March, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) revealed that four Educor colleges were to be deregistered due to their failure to “submit proof of their financial viability to the department.” These private colleges include:

  • City Varsity (Pty) Ltd
  • Damelin (Pty) Ltd
  • Icesa City Campus (Pty) Ltd, and 
  • Lyceum College (Pty) Ltd.

Why Were Private Colleges in South Africa Deregistered?

In a statement made by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Professor Blade Nzimande, the Educor Group had several instances of misconduct that counted against them, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the Group’s private colleges. They are:

Educor Group’s Failure to Comply with the Act of Regulations

The four institutions—City Varsity (Pty) Ltd, Damelin (Pty) Ltd, Icesa City Campus (Pty) Ltd and Lyceum College (Pty) Ltd—failed to comply with the requirements set out by the Act of Regulations, which dictate that they must:

  • Meet the criteria for registration outlined in Section 57(2)(b) of the Act; and
  • Execute duties as mandated by Chapter 6 of the Regulations.

Going into specifics, since 2021, the Educor private institutions have failed to submit their annual financial statements and tax clearance certificates to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). 

The private colleges were asked to lodge an appeal with Nzimande on or before September 2023, however, followed this request with an extension to 28 February 2024. They have since asked for a further extension. 

In addition to the above, the Educor Group was dishonest about the number of students they had at their institutions. Educor claimed that they had 50,000 students on their system, whereas in actual fact, they only had 13,096.

student impacted by deregistered private colleges

Grievances from Past and Current Students

The Educor colleges have been deemed, overall, as dysfunctional by both parents and students alike. Students frequently complained about a variety of issues that remain unresolved to this day.

Some of the complaints received about the Educor brands include:

  • Poor quality of teaching and learning
  • Minimal administrative support
  • Underqualified staff members
  • Corruption and bribery
  • Lack of response to the request for refunds
  • Unprofessional behaviour
  • The exploitation of disadvantaged students
  • Non-payment and underpayment of staff salaries

Sudden Closure of Sites

Three of the institutions, namely City Varsity, Damelin and Lyceum College, closed suddenly due to their failure to pay rent, staff salaries and/or the municipality. The result of this saw many students being left destitute and having nowhere to go. 

The above misdemeanours are only some of the reasons as to why the Educor colleges were deregistered. To get the full story, be sure to read Nzimande’s full statement below:

students affected by deregistered private colleges

What’s Next For Students?

With as many as 13,096 students being left destitute as a result of the deregistered private colleges, it was a wonder as to where these students would complete their qualifications in the academic year. 

Thankfully, the response to these deregistered students was overwhelming, with reputable higher education divisions like ADvTECH stepping in to show their support. 

We stand by the Educor students and are committed to supporting them in successfully completing their qualification,” said Shevon Lurie, director of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), in an article by BizCommunity.

As the subsidiary of ADvTECH, The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) oversees brands such as IIE Varsity College, IIE MSA, IIE Vega and IIE Rosebank College. These colleges offer plenty of students alternative means of learning, allowing them to complete their courses in 2024.

In terms of how the Educor students can go about the move to The IIE, all they have to do is follow the process below:

  • Affected students can send an email to The IIE will then assist students with queries regarding similar qualifications, campuses to consider as well as the process for applying for academic credits. 
  • The IIE will then look for similar qualifications and NQF levels in the student’s chosen field to ensure they meet the admission requirements. 
  • Students will then be guided through the necessary channels and steps to ensure that they remain informed.
  • The IIE will perform an evaluation of academic credits for each student, comparing modules they’ve completed with equivalent ones on the transfer qualification. 
  • Then, the IIE will provide fee credits based on these module credits. This means the total programme fees will decrease by the amount corresponding to the module/s for which students receive academic credits.

It’s important to note that students who have already graduated from an Educor institution, or who were set to graduate and are still completing their studies, will still receive a valid qualification

For students who are still busy with their studies and are unaware of which college to attend, don’t worry! There are a plethora of options when it comes to private colleges in South Africa.

private college application

Alternative Private Colleges for Educor Students

Hailed as the ‘worst sin committed by a higher education institution’, Nzimande has spurred Educor to supply a list of alternative private colleges that students can apply to in 2024 and beyond.

“It is incumbent upon Educor and its institutions to find alternative institutions for the students to complete their studies either public or private. And by the way, we are a very generous department. We are also willing to assist on that score in the identification of relevant institutions where students can be able to complete,” stated Nzimande.

In light of the above statement, there are quite a few institutions that the affected students can apply to. In terms of private colleges, students may consider any one of the accredited institutions below as alternatives to the Educor colleges:

private college student applying for funding at fundi

Get a Study Loan With Fundi

Students who have been impacted by the deregistered private colleges may be searching for funding to support their new academic ventures. 

This is where Fundi steps in to help. Fundi offers student loans that cover a whole range of educational costs, including tuition fees, textbooks, study devices and more!

Students can find out if they qualify for a Fundi loan by trying out the Fundi Loan Calculator

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