Quick guide to identifying credible institutions in Kenya
Updated: March 2019
Acronyms and names
CBET Competence Based Education and Training
CDAAC Curriculum Development and Assessment Council
CUE Commission for University Education
DTE Department of Technical Education
HELB Higher Education Loans Board
KASNEB Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examination Board
KATTI Kenya Association of Technical Training Institutes
KENIA Kenya National Innovation Agency
KICD Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development
KNEC Kenya National Examination Council
KUCCPS Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service
MOE Ministry of Education
NACOSTI National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation
NEA National Employment Authority
NITA National Industrial Training Authority
NRF National Research Fund
TVETA Technical, Vocational, Educational and Training Authority
TVET Technical, Vocational Education and Training
VET Vocational Education and Training
VTT State Department for Vocational and Technical Training
The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) maintains records of all credible institutions, Qualifications and Learners in Kenya. See KNQA website: www.KNQA.go.ke. It is not difficult to find out if an institution is credible in Kenya or not. You need to look for four things: 1. The Institution must be accredited; 2. The Institution must be accredited to offer the qualification or part-qualification in question; 3. Even if the training provider is registered and accredited, the qualification or part-qualification that they are offering must be registered on the Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) 4. For TVET and lower level qualifications, most train but are not allowed to award qualifications in their own name (they need a separate a legal mandate to do so, otherwise most students at this level are awarded qualifications by national examination bodies such as the KNEC and/or KASNEB). All Universities have a legal mandate to train and award Qualifications in Kenya.
Additionally, 1. Students entering training institutions must meet prescribed entry requirements for that level (see http://www.knqa.go.ke/admission-requirements/) 2. The volume/length of training must meet requirements as set out in the KNQF (see http://www.knqa.go.ke/the-knqf-structure/) described in form of years of learning, credits or notional hours. In general a Bachelor’s Degree takes 4 years (480 credits or 4800 notional hours) or more, Diplomas 2 Years (240 credits or 2400 notional hours) or more and Certificates take one year (120 credits or 1200 notional hours) or more. Foreign Qualification offered in the country must obtain Certificate of Qualifications Equivalence issued by the KNQA (on how they measure on the KNQF, see http://www.knqa.go.ke/certificate-of-qualifications-equivalence/
- Accreditation of Training Institutions and Universities
In Kenya, all Universities and Training Institutions must be accredited to train. Universities can award qualifications for the programs that they have been accredited only. Universities and their programs are accredited by the CUE (www.cue.or.ke), while TVET Institutions are accredited by TVETA (www.tvetauthority.go.ke). Most TVET institutions are accredited to train, but not to award qualifications (with few exceptions such as Kenya Utalii college, Kenya Medical Training College, Kenya Water Institute, Bukura College, Kenya Wildlife Training College etc). All Universities are Governed under the Universities act no. 42 of 2012 (http://www.knqa.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Universities-Act-42-of-2012.pdf), while TVET Institutions are governed under the TVET act no 29 of 2013 (http://www.knqa.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/tvet-act_no-29-of-2013_.pdf). In addition, All Qualifications in the Basic, TVET and University sectors are governed under the KNQF act no. 22 of 2014 (http://www.knqa.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/KNQF-act.pdf)
- Professional Bodies
In addition to the regulatory environment described above institutions training in professional fields such as Medicine, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine, Law, Architecture etc are required to comply with specific laws governing training of professional qualifications; and these are regulated by professional bodies in those fields.
- Curriculum Development
Universities can develop their own programs which must be accredited by the CUE before training and awarding of the qualifications can commence. Within the TVET and basic education sector, curricular is developed by the KICD and CDAAC under the guidance of level descriptors and occupational standards developed by the KNQA.
- Examination and Assessment
An institution can only award a National Qualification in Kenya if they have a legal mandate to do so. Only foreign qualifications which are registered in their countries of origin, and their qualifications registered on the home national qualification frameworks can award qualifications in Kenya (after they obtain a Certificate of Qualifications Equivalence); and their qualifications are recognized and equated with local qualifications. All training providers used to train foreign qualifications in Kenya require to be accredited by TVETA (for TVET level qualifications), CUE (for University level qualifications) and ESQAC (for basic level Qualifications). All local and foreign institutions awarding qualifications in Kenya must be accredited and/or recognized by the KNQA.
In the TVET sector although there are over, 3000 training institutions, 95% of the qualifications at this level are awarded by KNEC, KASNEB and CDAAC; all of which are accredited by the KNQA.
- Registration of qualifications and part-qualifications
All qualifications and part-qualifications awarded in Kenya must be registered on the Kenya National Qualifications Framework.
KNQA is the custodian of the KNQF and maintains a register of:
- All KNQF qualifications and part-qualifications;
- All Institutions awarding qualifications in the KNQF;
- The learners who have achieved KNQF qualifications;
- Recognized professional bodies and their professional designations; and
- External Quality assurance agencies (ETQAs).