That’s sick! Nurse says certificate costs an arm and a leg
Private nursing college charges R2,100 for an academic record copy
A former student of a private nursing college in KwaZulu-Natal is fuming after she was charged R2,100 for a copy of her academic record – 52 times more than the amount charged by universities and four times more than public nursing colleges.
Nontembiso Kafu, who went to St Mary’s Hospital Nursing College in Mariannhill near Pinetown, west of Durban, requested a copy of her diploma academic record in September because she wanted to pursue her studies in primary healthcare at Stellenbosch University.
St Mary’s is a nonprofit company provisionally registered as a private further education and training (FET) college with the department of higher education and training.
Kafu, 52, from Kokstad, was charged R2,100 for a transcript of her academic record and told to pay the money to Elnathan Nursing College, a holding company trading as St Mary’s Nursing College, after it bought the business in 2015.
Times Select has seen proof of payment made by Kafu to the college’s Standard Bank account number on October 2, after which she was issued her academic record.
However, Kafu believed the amount was exorbitant as most universities charged R40 or R50, and now wants her money back. “They couldn’t explain to me why they charged me R2,100 for my academic record. They said they needed time to look for the record. I’m not happy, and I need my money back. It was after I called Stellenbosch, which said they charge R40, that I only realised there was something fishy. But I had to pay the money because I was in desperate need of my academic record,” she said.
But St Mary’s registrar Thembeka Zama said they benchmarked their cost with the South African Nursing Council (SANC), which charged R1,800 for a transcript that took eight weeks to prepare. However, Times Select established that the SANC charged R1,710 for a copy.
“St Mary’s turnaround time for preparing the transcript is five working days. Therefore, we were inundated with students who preferred to get their transcript within a short space of time,” said Zama.
She said most students’ transcripts were those seeking overseas employment, and preferred to get this from the college than wait for eight weeks from the SANC. Students were not forced to apply to the college for the transcript since the SANC was a qualifying authority, she said.
“We costed the amount of time it takes to access old information from the college archives, given that Elnathan only acquired the college three years ago and most of the old records were not readily accessible to the current college. The amount of time spent in preparing this information for one student led to the college to reconsider the fees that were charged per transcript,” she said.
However, Times Select established that private Durban nursing colleges Gandhi Mandela Nursing Academy and Chatsmed Candlelight Nursing School charged R650 and R350, respectively. Grey’s Hospital Nursing College in Pietermaritzburg and Ngwelezane Nursing College in Empangeni in northern KZN both charged R500, while the University of Zululand charged R40 and the University of KwaZulu-Natal R70.