The fate of hundreds of thousands of students registered with Damelin, CityVarsity, Icesa City Campus and Lyceum College hang in the balance after the institutions' registrations were cancelled by the Department of Higher Education, reports News24.

In a notice carried in the Government Gazette on Friday, the department's DG, Nkosinathi Sishi, published his decision to cancel the registrations of these private higher education institutions following their failure to submit audited financial statements for the 2021 and 2022 annual reports.

Private tertiary institutions are obliged to submit financial statements as stipulated in the Higher Education Act.

Damelin, CityVarsity, Icesa City Campus and Lyceum College are owned by Educor which, according to its website, is the largest private education supplier in Southern Africa.

Professor Labby Ramrathan from the University of KZN said that, in the context of expanding private higher education, accountability was key.

She said 'strong signals need to be made to protect prospective students'.

'Cancelling registration of these institutions will have a significant impact on current students' registration and past student/graduates. For current students, the uncertainty of obtaining their qualifications remain high. For past students, the reputational damage will impact on them,' she said.

Full News24 report