GOVERNMENT has shut down 113 colleges and independent institutions for failing to comply with the law in a blitz being conducted by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education. Another 42 colleges have been de-registered. The affected colleges are in Harare (including Chitungwiza), Bulawayo, Midlands, Masvingo, Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and Manicaland provinces.
However, several colleges and training institutions closed a few months ago are still operating.
Some of the colleges were operating without licences while others did not meet acceptable standards.
Others were operating from unapproved premises, violating the Manpower Planning and Development Act (Chapter 28:02) and Statutory Instruments No.333 of 1996 and 26 of 2001.
The Act allows for the prosecution of colleges and training institutions that violate the regulations.
Secretary for Higher and Tertiary Education Dr Washington Mbizvo yesterday said the blitz, being carried out by the ministry's standards and compliance inspectorate committee, sought to safeguard the country's education standards.
He said the police would ensure the colleges remained shut until they comply.
"Once we shut down the colleges, we leave everything in the hands of the police. The police ensure that the doors of the institutions are literally locked," said Dr Mbizvo.
He said they were giving the colleges a grace period of 21 days to comply or 30 days to appeal against the decision.
"We are guided by the Act and we follow what the law stipulates.
"Some of the colleges are not registered, while others have not renewed their licences," said Dr Mbizvo.
He said the colleges should rectify the anomalies on time and failure to do so would result in the ministry handing the matter over to the police for further action.
Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said the police would act if the ministry notified them.
"We act accordingly when the issue is brought to our attention," he said.
"If there are unattended cases, Government should notify us and provide further details relating to the flouting of the education regulations."
Some of the colleges operating illegally are First Link College, Peter Birch School of Art, Zimbabwe Early Childhood Development, Zimtech Training College, Magamba Hall College, Herentals Budiriro, and Blue Magic School of Braiding and Weaving (all in Harare).
Those de-registered include Churston College, Genesis College (Harare), ZDECO Kwekwe, Kamativi Vocational Training Centre, Bulilima Information Technology Centre, Gweru Computer Learning Centre and Mutare Professional College.
He said some colleges were using a single licence to set up satellite colleges, a situation he said violated the regulations.
The crackdown has seen Government closing nearly 500 briefcase colleges since 2010.