With the 2017 academic year kicking off, parents and guardians whose children sat for their Grade 10 and 12 final national examinations recently, have been warned against bogus educational institutions that fleece unsuspecting people of their hard-earned cash.
Although the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) has actively implemented its audit function to assess whether institutions adhere to the accreditation requirements for training providers and most importantly that teaching and learning take place at the appropriate level, phony training providers still present a challenge.
Every year many parents and guardians fall prey to dubious and questionable educational institution as Namibian students thirsty for higher education, but who do not meet the requirements of the country’s leading accredited institutions of higher learning, end up registering with unrecognised educational institutions through agents that charge them hefty sums of money to facilitate admission.
In the process some students end up being deceived by spurious local and international education institutions that charge exorbitant amounts of money and make empty promises.
NQA spokesperson Catherine Shipushu yesterday cautioned the public about unaccredited institutions operating in Namibia and elsewhere in the world.
She said it is once again that time of year when learners are about to enroll or register at various institutions of higher learning and noted that this is also the time when most people make costly decisions out of desperation.
According to her, some local institutions have been known to fraudulently use the NQA name to lure students to their institutions.
She advised prospective learners to be careful and not to be misled by such bogus institutions by making absolute sure that the institution they plant to study at is actually accredited.
While NQA acknowledges the need for education, especially in today’s society where qualifications are equated to a better standard of life, Shipushu advised the public to guard against enrolling in institutions that are not of good standing.
NQA also advises parents and guardians not to compel their children to enroll in just any institution.
“We understand that every parent wants to see their child succeed, but they should be mindful of the critical consequences of studying at unaccredited institutions,” she noted.
Firstly, she explained that many institutions’ programmes are not quality assured and therefore their qualifications will not be recognised by the NQA.
Secondly, she said due to the fact that these institutions are not accredited, it is impossible to validate the quality of their courses and the employability of their graduates.
Moreover, she said the NQA is there to assist the public to verify which institutions are accredited in Namibia and anywhere in the world and advised parents, funding institutions and learners to contact the NQA to verify the accreditation status of any institution they are interested in.
This is a free advisory service the NQA offers, she said, adding that interested persons are welcome to contact the NQA via telephone 061-384100; by email firstname.lastname@example.org; or via their website: www.namqa.org.
Shipushu said the NQA has released a new list of accredited Namibian institutions whose programmes have been assessed by the NQA and were found to have the capacity to deliver education at the required standard.
She believes it is crucial for the public to be aware that if an institution is not on that list, it is not accredited by the NQA and is not regarded as being in good standing. Its qualifications will thus not be evaluated by the NQA.
“We thus encourage the public to make use of this list to find out which institutions are accredited, so that they do not fall prey to bogus institutions,” she urged.
The list will be distributed in the form of booklets throughout the country and via newspapers, regional directorates of education offices, local councillors’ offices and on the NQA website (www.namqa.org) to ensure the information is widely accessible.
The NQA will also host its first ever Open Day on February 1, when members of the public will be able to gain more information about their services and interact with accredited training providers.