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Bogus colleges closed, students left stranded

BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
MUTARE — Hundreds of private college students in Manicaland have failed to get industrial attachment vacancies after the Industrial Training and Trade Testing Department (ITTTD) exposed 47 unregistered tertiary institutions operating in the province.The exposure has left scores of industrial attachment seekers stranded, while parents and guardians continue to throng the colleges demanding refunds of fees they had paid.
Companies are reluctant to take on board students from unregistered institutions for attachment or for employment.
Some of the colleges have since been closed.
Speaking at a Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) outreach programme in Mutare recently, ITTTD regional registrar for Manicaland, Joseph Gwara, said a recent audit by the department had unearthed several unregistered colleges operating illegally in the province.
He said the colleges failed to meet standards stipulated by the Ministry of Education and had to be shut down.
“We unearthed 47 colleges operating in Manicaland province that are not registered,” he said. “We want the colleges to be closed because they compromise the standards of education in the country.”
Gwara added: “We are going to punish the principals and heads of these colleges. We will work with the police and we are going to arrest the owners and they could face imprisonment. I would like to warn other colleges to desist from offering various courses when they are not registered.”
Although Gwara declined to disclose names of the colleges, investigations by The Standard have revealed that Mutare School of Accountancy and Management was one of the colleges that were closed.
The college principal Ronnie Chivhizhe said: “I was just an employee and I am surprised that the owner of this college was not registered. We had more than 80 full and part-time students enrolled here. This is a set back because all of the students will have unrecognised certificates.”
One of the students, Daniel Simbabure, lamented the years he wasted at the college.
“Who will pay for all these wasted years? It’s sad that my dream to become a professional accountant has been thrown in the bin. This is fraud,” said Simbabure.
The owner of the college, Moses Njenjera, was not cooperative when contacted for a comment.
“I do not speak about my private business with the press. What do you want from me? What do you want to know about my private business? You should report on better things not my private properties,” he said before cutting off the conversation.
The Ministry of Education, Arts, Sports and Culture recently expressed concern over the increasing numbers of backyard colleges sprouting in the country.

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