Aug 2023 1st edition

Public warned of bogus online schools

Umalusi is concerned about the mushrooming of bogus online schools, as well as the increase in the reported cases of fake certificates being sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

Umalusi is responsible for setting and monitoring standards for general and further education and training in South Africa. It is also responsible for the certification of qualifications.

In a recent statement, Umalusi said it is currently working with the South African Police Service on various cases that concern unaccredited institutions that have admitted 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 Chief Executive Officer 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 not aware of any such institution having been registered by any provincial education department,” Rakometsi said.

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

Similarly, members of the public are warned against buying fake certificates that are 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 National Senior Certificate, Senior Certificate, National Certificate Vocational levels 2-4, N2-N3, and General Education and Training Certificate: Adult Basic Education and Training. No other body or person is allowed to issue any of these certificates.”

Umalusi also stated that it condemns the buying and selling of fake certificates which is a fraudulent activity.

“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.

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



The public is urged to report any case that involves operating an illegal institution to the relevant provincial education department. The selling and buying of fraudulent certificates can be reported through the toll-free number (0800 408 409) or email address (


Share this page