By the nature of my work I deal with quite a few private providers in the FET field. In the past these providers had to deal with students who demanded to see their registration with the Department of Higher Education and Training - which is their right. A college that should be registered with the DHET must display this prominently.
With the advent of Joint Comunique 1 of 2012 whereby FET colleges who do not offer Umalusi accredited qualifications and hence no longer have to register with the DHET the playing field has not been leveled as expected but rather ploughed wide open.
Students flock to colleges to enrol - and quite a few FET colleges have decided that it is not worth the while to offer Engineering Studies N1 - N3 or the NC(V). In stead they offer NQF aligned qualifications and most are accredited by the relevant SETA.
Students now demand to see the registration documents of these colleges and become quite agiteated when the providers tell that it is no longer required. Providing a copy of the Joint Communique does not help either - they demand to see the registration certificate.
Is it possible that the DHET, QCTO and Umalusi can issue a statement clarifying the situation?
It is night outside and honest providers are being accused of being "fly by nights".
Fortunately we have been spared the annual TV coverage of officials raiding colleges.
The central problem seems to be that learners don't believe providers. I think that colleges should show learners the communique and if this is not sufficient they could contact SAQA to assist in this regard. We will clarify this matter with students. They can use the following number 0860 111 673.
Thanks for the reply. May I please edit your response as follows: "The central problem seems to be that learners don't [want to] believe providers. One cannot argue with a group - they are right and you are wrong, they will not listen to reason.
"These students are very (to put it mildly) militant and they normally organise these 'visits' to colleges. In the past their case was strenghned by the minister publicly raiding the colleges with a large police contingent and accompanying TV coverage.
I would really appreciate if you can issue a statement on behalf of SAQA on this matter. I have told the providers to read the communique (which they had not done!) and also inform their front-office staff.
I operate in the Pretoria and Johannesburg regions and I will ask all those providers that I know to display the document in a prominent place.
In the past we had armed policemen visiting colleges demanding to see the registration certificate - if you could not produce it the matter could be smoothed by handing out a few buffalo or even tigers. Fortuantely that practice seems to have been attended to.
I said that we will assist at the point where students needs further evidence, this does not mean we will be issuing another statement. I think the communique is sufficient for now!
I have asked the colleges that I deal with to ensure that they distribute the contents and meaning of the Joint Communique as widely as possible
I posted the reply below in another forum. A joint clarification is probably not going to happen. Besides the notice published by the Minister referred to below, I have seen two articles written by journalists that still say that students must demand that the private FET College is registered (irrespective of what they offer). You can find the notice by Minister Nzimande on the homepage of www.dhet.gov.za as Media Statement : Department of Higher Education And Training Post ...
Herewith my reply:
"This is just an update on the issue regarding the Joint Communique of 2012 and the deregistration of private FET providers that do not offer Umalusi qualifications.
I see in today's New Age newspaper is a message to the Matric Class of 2012 and out-of-school youth from Minister Nzimande, giving them advice about the process for registering at Public FET Colleges. He also urges students who want to enrol at private colleges that they have to ensure that the college is "legally registered", by asking a set of questions (inter alia):
1. "Is the private education institution registered with the DHET?"
2. "If registered, is the certificate for registration displayed?"
4. "Is the qualification you are interested in listed on the certificate?"
It seems that the DHET missed the trick here to inform students of the new registration requirements of private FET/SD providers - it is as if the Joint Communique never happened.
I sincerely hoped that 2013 would bring more clarity...
Just a follow-up to my previous mail.
I see on the SAQA homepage that the rotating advertisement at the top of the page for the NQF and Career Advice helpline advises students as follows:
"To secure your future career pathway TODAY, check if the insitution you want to study at is officially registered and the qualification you are interested in is NQF accredited".
It would help if SAQA could clarify on it's website that if you offer QCTO/SETA qualifications only, you don't have to be registered. This information is something that SAQA can control without having to do a joint statement.
Also, the website www.nqf.org.za under What the NQF does defines "NQF accredited qualification" as follows:
>>For Higher Education; NQF accredited means a qualification accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), registered on the NQF by SAQA and offered by a provider that is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
For General and Further Education and Training; NQF accredited means a qualification accredited by Umalusi, registered on the NQF by SAQA and offered by a provider that is registered with the DHET or by the Head of the Provincial Department of Education.
For the Trades and Occupations sector; NQF accredited means a qualification accredited by the Quality Council on Trades and Occupations (QCTO), registered on the NQF by SAQA and offered by institutions that are accredited by the appropriate authority.>>
This should help clarify that providers who offer QCTO qualifications only don't have to be registered with the DHET - if you also explain to students that SETAs fall under the QCTO.
Thanks very much for the suggestion. I will ensure that these changes are made!
Please could you advise on the VAT implications for Private FET Colleges and the apparent disparity in the various acts related to FET colleges?
The Value-Added Tax Act, 1991 (Act 89 of 1991) states that VAT exemption applies to Private FET Colleges established, declared or registered as such under the Further Education and Training Colleges Act, 2006 (Act No. 16 of 2006).
As per the joint communiqué 1 of 2012:
· The Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996) requires that an independent educational institution must be registered with the State (section 29(3)(b))
· The FETCA (Act No. 16 of 2006) requires private FET Colleges to be registered with the DHET
· The SDA (Act 97 of 1998) however does not require this registration
My understanding is that the SDA is in contrast with stipulations of the VATA as well as the Constitution and FETCA. What will the implications be in terms of the VATA stipulations?
Since the VATA precede the proposed new legislation and changes to the SDA in its current format, surely its stipulations take president or must it be adapted as well? By implication, discontinuing the practice of registering private providers as FET Colleges will be problematic as there is no legislation that supports this and it is in contrast with the Constitution and stipulations of two other Acts? My view is that should a provider wish to register as a FET College and comply with the related requirements, they should be able to do so and not be deterred due to administrative challenges.
Being VAT exempted is also a benefit to prospective students, will FET Colleges now be forced to charge VAT? And if so, will this not be to the detriment of especially disadvantaged students?
I have come across some reference to another forum that will be held now in January to discuss the communique with the industry, but I cannot get information on the date,venue or time - do you know anything about this?
Thank you very much, looking forward to your response.
Thrive Learning Facilitation.