Damelin and 3 other colleges deregistered

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande’s department has been inundated with inquiries following the de-registration of Damelin and three other private colleges.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande’s department has been inundated with inquiries following the de-registration of Damelin and three other private colleges.

Published Mar 27, 2024


Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande’s department has been inundated with inquiries following the de-registration of Damelin and three other private colleges under the Education Investment Corporation Limited (Educor) group.

Students and staff members of City Varsity, Damelin, ICESA City Campus and Lyceum Colleges have been left in limbo after the department de-registered these institutions.

According to the department, the de-registration was due to the failure of the colleges to issue audited financials since 2020.

“Over the last few days, the department has been receiving a flood of media queries on our decision to cancel the registration of four Educor institutions, namely, City Varsity, Damelin, City Campus, and Lyceum Colleges. I must say, by the way, that this is an unfortunate situation as some of these institutions have such a long history in our education landscape. There are many people who have graduated from these institutions,” Nzimande said.

The decision to cancel the registration was announced by the Director-General of the department, Dr Nkosinathi Sishi, in a government gazette published last week Friday, dated August 19 2022.

The minister said the institutions had shown huge compliance failures prompting the department to come to the decision to de-register them.

“In addition to failing to submit evidence of their financial viability to the department, the four Educor brands can be deemed as dysfunctional. This is mainly measured against the daily complaints and grievances received from students, most of which remain unresolved.

“If I am not mistaken, one of the complaints I remember receiving was that students were given marks based on exam scripts that were never marked because the lecturers were no longer at work, because they were not being paid. This is the worst sin that can be committed by an education institution - public or private. You just cannot lie and give student marks based on scripts that were never marked or as if there was an exam that was written,” said the minister.

In addition, Nzimande said, after “serious issues” were brought to his attention, the Higher Education Quality Committee withdrew the accreditation of some programmes for City Varsity, Damelin and Lyceum College.

“Another matter is misrepresentation on student numbers. Educor claims to have 50 000 learners in the system – so they claim. This information is incorrect,” said Nzimande.

“Since the 2022 annual reports indicate the breakdown of student enrolment as follows: City Varsity has 540 students in 2022 annual report; Damelin had 4 012 students; Icesa City Campus had 145 students; and Lyceum College has 8 399 students. In total, this was 13 096 not the 50 000 they were claiming.”

Educor, which claims to be one of the country’s largest private education colleges in the country, manages 10 private college brands and more than 60 campuses across South Africa and worldwide.

In January, The Star reported that lecturers and other staffers within the Educor Group, had not been paid their salaries for December.

Some of the staffers complained of the same happening in October and November. One of them said they had been threatened with dismissal if they failed to report for duty this week.

“Things are bad, as we have not received our salaries for December. We are being told by a manager at Pretoria City that if we do not report to work, it’s going to be unpaid leave, yet we have not received our December salaries till now.

“Now, we are being threatened by the manager that if we strike, he is going to make sure that we get fired,” she said.

The staff member said some of the employees received their November salaries on December 18, while their December salaries were yet to reflect in their bank accounts.

“We are expected to report to work even though our salaries are still outstanding, on the fear that we will get dismissed,” she said.

Reacting to the de-registration, Professor Jon Foster-Pedley, dean and director of Henley Business School in Africa, told Newzroom Afrika that the minister was in the right to de-register these institutions.

“The minister has done a good job. These institutions have to be compliant and ensure they have their financial reserves and that they do their academic oversight and the standards required by the law,” he said.

SA Union of Students spokesperson, Asive Dlanjwa, said: “It is no doubt that this decision will have a dire impact on students who will also be de-registered by virtue that the institutions which they are registered with have since been de-registered.”

The South African Federation of Trade Union (SAFTU) through its spokesperson, Trevor Shaku, has welcomed the de-registration of the four colleges but has called on the minister not to leave students and employees in the lurch.

“SAFTU demands the department not to dump students who were mid-way in pursuing their studies and the workers who worked at these institutions, from cleaners and security to lecturers. The department must nationalise these colleges and absorb the workers permanently. After all, the public higher education institutions do not have the adequate capacity to absorb matriculants and learners who want to pursue further education and training. In addition to our demand that they must build new colleges and universities, they must nationalise all Educor colleges,“ he said.

A Damelin lecturer told The Star: “We are really concerned about our careers as this de-registration will affect us in a negative way. We have just come back from not being paid for months on end and now are faced with an even more uncertain future.”

The Star

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