Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has slammed the parent company of four private higher education institutions for misrepresenting its student numbers, reports News24.

Addressing a media briefing yesterday, Nzimande said the four institutions – City Varsity, Damelin, Icesa City Campus and Lyceum College, all owned by Educor – had a student enrolment of 13 096 in 2022 but Educor claimed it had 50 000 students.

In a notice carried in the Government Gazette on Friday, the Department of Higher Education's DG, Nkosinathi Sishi, published his decision to cancel the registration of the four institutions. This followed Educor's failure to submit audited financial statements for the 2021 and 2022 annual reports.

Nzimande said Educor would be given a period in which to phase out registered students and reimburse them where necessary.

He added the cancellation of City Varsity's registration would take immediate effect and it must not enrol new students.

The four institutions failed to fulfil the requirements for registration as stipulated in the Higher Education Act by not submitting their annual financial statements and the tax clearance certificates for the 2021 and 2022 financial years as proof of their financial viability.

Nzimande said the institutions were required to lodge an appeal with him on or before 26 September 2023 after their registrations were cancelled in July 2023.

‘They then requested an extension to 28 February 2024, and are now seeking a further extension. The four Educor brands can be deemed as dysfunctional and this is mainly measured against the daily complaints and grievances received from students, most of which remain unresolved.’

Nzimande said the institutions gave students marks based on exam scripts that were not marked, because lecturers had not been paid.

He added the sites of some institutions closed suddenly for, among others, failure to pay rent, staff salaries and/or the municipality.

He added that on 8 January, the directorate registering private colleges wrote to the four Educor institutions and requested them to respond to a list of allegations of corruption against them.

‘To date, they have not responded.’

Full News24 report

See also full Business Day report