Access to higher education remains a challenge to many school leavers.
Not all those who qualify for university admission get places, forcing them to seek alternatives. But the government-sponsored middle-level colleges that used to offer alternative pathways, have progressively been converted into universities and the few remaining are overwhelmed by demand.
In view of this, many private colleges have sprung up offering middle-level training in diverse professions. However, the growth has not been properly managed. For one, there have never been clear rules on registration and quality control.
The colleges are registered under various ministries and through different processes.
Worse, the curriculum is not standardised. One can get a diploma within six months or two years, depending on the college. The quality of teachers, infrastructure, exams and certification are not regulated.
Efforts to remedy the situation saw the strengthening of the former Commission for Higher Education, now Commission for University Education, to enable it to superintend over public and private universities.
Similarly, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority was established through an Act of Parliament in 2013 to coordinate and regulate technical training.
However, as we have reported in the past few days, some of these colleges are a sham. Admission, training, examination and certification are flawed. The rich can easily buy certificates and need not go through the rigours of learning.
What we have reported is just but the tip of the iceberg. The problem is pervasive and deep-rooted.
The authorities should crack down on the dubious colleges fleecing students and their parents under the guise of providing higher education.