South Africans love a freebie as much as anyone, but when a "tuition-free" university hit our shores recently, it rubbed higher education authorities up the wrong way. On the eve of the launch of the University of the People (UoPeople) in SA, the department of higher education & training issued a media alert warning that the "fraudulent university" was not registered with the department as required by law, and that it could find no evidence that it was accredited with the US education department. UoPeople did not have the authority to enrol students or grant degrees in SA, it said. Department spokesman Madikwe Mabotha says there is no evidence that the online American university is accredited in SA, and whether or not it is registered with the US education department has no bearing on its accreditation status in SA. But the local department’s warnings fell on deaf ears, as the launch of UoPeople was covered by television and newspapers across the country, highlighting the desperate ...

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