Online school warning for South Africa

 ·23 Jun 2023

Umalusi says it is seriously concerned about the mushrooming of bogus online schools and the increase in the reported cases of fake certificates being sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

In a statement on Friday (23 June), Umalusi said it is currently working with the South African Police Service (SAPS) on various cases concerning unaccredited institutions admitting students into non-existing programmes.

The quality assurer said such institutions circulate fake Umalusi accreditation certificates or fake emails purporting to be accredited by Umalusi.

The CEO of Umalusi, Dr Mafu Rakometsi, said that some institutions issue students with fake letters bearing the Umalusi logo, which are purported to be legitimate registration letters.

In addition, the institutions make students write exams using old question papers accessed from the websites of provincial education departments.

“To date, Umalusi has not accredited any online school to offer any of its qualifications. In the same vein, Umalusi is unaware that any provincial education department has registered any such institution,” Rakometsi said.

Umalusi urges the public to visit its website ( to verify the accreditation status of an independent school or a private college.

Similarly, public members are warned against buying fake certificates advertised through various social media platforms.

“Umalusi is the only institution in South Africa that is legislatively mandated to issue certificates of learner achievement in respect of the NSC, SC(a), NC(V) levels 2-4, N2-N3, and GETC: ABET.

No other body or person is allowed to issue any of these certificates.

“The public is warned that the practice of selling and buying fake certificates is a criminal offence, which is punishable by law. Umalusi condemns this fraudulent activity in the strongest possible terms.

“All employers in the public and private sectors are advised to verify their current or future employees’ qualifications through the agencies that Umalusi has contracts with,” the council said.

“Their names are available on the Umalusi website ( Simply click on the Certification & Verification icon. The verification service is reserved for the qualifications/certificates issued by Umalusi,” Rakometsi said.

Read: Government blames Covid, parents for South Africa’s dismal reading skills

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