Qualifications systems refers the complete structure within which qualifications are awarded and certificated. It includes all aspects of the country’s activity that result in the recognition of learning. These systems include the means of developing and operationalizing national Standards, guidelines and policies on qualifications, institutional arrangements, quality assurance processes, assessment and certification processes, skills recognition and other mechanisms that link education and training to the labour market and civil society.
Qualification systems may be more or less integrated and coherent. One feature of a qualification system is an explicit framework of qualifications that enhance transparency and comparable qualifications across countries.
The qualification system in Kenya is relevant in the following ways;
- It reduces complexity and enables coherence, transparency and integration despite increasing regionalization, decentralization and individualization of provision (notably in relation to post-compulsory and continuing provision of education and training);
- It opens access and enables progression to further qualifications, independent of whether they are basic, higher or vocational education and training qualifications;
- The system enables learners and trainers to be guided and to facilitate them in identifying appropriate learning pathways
- It provides support for quality assurance and the development of standards, for systems of credit accumulation and transfer, and to enhance transferability, comparability and compatibility of qualifications.
- A qualification system makes qualifications more relevant to societal and labour market needs
Qualifications express what people know, understand and are able to do. They can take different forms such as a Bachelor’s degrees or Kenya Secondary Certificate Education. Transparency about what people actually learned in order to obtain a qualification (‘learning outcomes’) is key to ensuring that individuals, employers and education and training providers give the appropriate economic, social and academic value to qualifications.
The KNQF aims to integrate and coordinate qualifications, as well as improve the transparency, accessibility and quality of qualifications in relation to the labour market, the education and training system, and civil society. The shift to learning outcomes increases the transparency of a qualification and enhances its comparability between countries and within countries (e.g. between different types of qualifications at the same level, or different levels of qualifications of the same type). Through its focus on learning outcomes, the KNQF can help citizens to find their way in an increasingly diverse and complex qualifications landscape.
With the purpose of achieving transparency and comparability, the KNQA has developed and is implementing the Kenya Credit Accumulation and Transfer System (KCATS). KCATs was introduced in 2018, within the KNQF, as a way of harmonizing education and training at different levels in the country; and for improving student mobility across different levels and institutions of learning. The system is currently being tested in Kenya; with plans to extend it to the East African region. The system facilitates the recognition of periods of study abroad and thus enhances the quality and volume of student mobility in East Africa. The system is designed to develop into an accumulation system to be implemented at institutional, national and Regional level.
KCATs makes study programmes easy to read and compare for all students, lecturers and institutions. KCATs facilitates mobility and academic recognition. KCATs helps colleges and universities to organize and revise their study programmes and/or qualifications. KCATs can be used across a variety of programmes and modes of delivery. KCATs makes Kenyan higher education more attractive for students from
A qualification may be perceived, in simple terms, as a planned combination of learning outcomes which has a definite purpose and which is intended to provide qualifying learners with applied competence and a basis for further learning. A Qualification Standard is a standard that is set by a competent body to guide development of curricula targeting a particular qualification in the KNQF. It prescribes the Purpose(s) of Qualification, the Principal Learning Outcomes for realizing the Purpose(s) of Qualification, and the associated Credit Values with Assessment Criteria.
Shaping the Future of Kenyan Qualifications through a National Assessment System
- By Dr. Winnie Bulimo
The Kenyan education sector is reforming to strengthen access, fairness, relevance and quality of education and training. Despite the myriad of criticisms facing the current assessment and examination systems, its role cannot be underestimated. Viewed in a wider perspective, the dominance of examinations and assessment is not a uniquely Kenyan challenge. Nonetheless, examinations and assessment remains paramount and at the core of accountability mechanisms in education systems around the world.
The present qualifications assessment and awarding system in Kenya is fragmented due to multiplicity of assessment bodies and awarding institutions coupled with varied qualifications. Consequently, there exists disparities and inconsistencies in the assessment processes, methods and outcomes of similar qualifications. To address this issue, the KNQA has Developed National Standards and Guidelines for Assessment so as to harmonize processes and methods of assessment in Kenya from the basic to university level qualifications (KNQF level 1-10).
The key theoretical concepts that underpin assessment standards are validity, consistency, reliability, fairness, authenticity, inclusivity and fit for purpose assessment outcomes. The national assessment standards therefore forms the backbone that the regulators, professional bodies (PF) awarding academic qualifications, qualification awarding institutions and assessment bodies are expected to apply in implementing assessment. They also offer insights into important considerations for designing assessment procedure and implementing them in differing contexts and lessons which have the potential to improve practice and quality in all domains of assessment. Particularly the standards and guidelines are expected to provide guidance to the process of identifying and appointing assessors, approving assessment centers, developing assessment tools, administering assessment, marking, certification and assuring quality of assessment process. Further, they provide guidance for conducting online assessment and assessment of persons living with disability. Implementation of the standards and guidelines will be useful in the internationalization and creation of confidence, acceptability and mobility of the Kenyan graduates. It is therefore expected that any institution that assess and award national qualifications within Kenya shall strive to comply with the national assessment standards.
Seven Signals of Fake qualifications
- One in every three Kenyans holds fake academic certificates
- There are more than 30 TVET institutions awarding qualifications without a mandate
- Fake qualifications are fast spreading in developed and developing countries (also referred to as Diploma mills in USA and Europe)
- Sound- like names; names that sound or look like those of well-known colleges or universities are used acquiring fake qualifications
- A qualification earned in a very short period of time or several qualifications listed for the same year is a cause for alarm
- A qualification earned out of sequence i.e gap between one qualification to another this is a red flag for fake qualification
- A qualification awarded and the certificate written in gothic prose/and ponderous prose should be a cause for alarm
Role of NAQMIS & KNLRD
Through the Kenya National Recognition Equation and Verification (KNREV) system, KNQA accepts online applications of academic qualifications for recognition, equation and verification from both Kenyans and foreigners through the KNREV portal. Through this service, users are expected to register by creating their profiles after which they can upload their qualifications and apply for a service then make payments and submit the application. On receipt of the application, KNQA will process the application then issue a letter with respect to the relevant service applied for.
The National Qualifications Information Management System (NAQIMS) is used to manage the Kenya National Leaner’s Record Database (KNLRD). Through the NAQIMS system, KNQA accepts registration of Qualifications Awarding Institutions (QAI’s) as well as the respective Qualifications. Through this service, learning institutions are expected to register by creating their profiles after which they can upload the required documents then make the necessary payments and submit the application. On receiving the documents, KNQA will process the application then issue a certificate to the QAI’s.
After registering an institution, the institution can now go ahead and register the various qualifications that they offer to their leaners. Through this service, QAI’s are expected to enroll the various qualifications after which they can upload the required documents then make the necessary payments and submit the application. On receiving the documents KNQA will process the application then issue a letter to the QAI’s. Upon registering the QAI’s and the Qualifications, an institution will be now at liberty to upload the leaners records using a prescribed format to the database.
The Kenya National Learners’ Records Database (KNLRD) is a comprehensive relational database acts as a central repository for Accredited QAIs, Qualifications and Leaner’s records. The KNLRD enables KNQA to fulfill its national mandate by obtaining all the learners records, capturing data on qualifications and registration of Qualifications Awarding Institutions (QAI’s). This data set is captured from Technical & Vocational Education Training (TVET) Institutions, Examination Bodies and Universities.
The KNQA Recruitment Portal allows submission and processing of applications for jobs advertised by the Authority. A total of twenty (20) job vacancies were advertised in October 2020 recruitment which attracted over eight thousand (8,000) applicants. These applications were successfully processed with the help of the portal.
Kenyans asked to be wary of foreign qualifications Kenyans have been asked to be wary of foreign qualifications obtained within and outside the country. The country has defined its qualifications at various levels from ECDE to PhD and it is important that those taking foreign training in the country and outside the country make sure that the qualifications that they acquire meet Kenyan standards. Dr Juma Mukhwana, the Director General of the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) said that many qualifications awarded in the country especially at the Certificate and Diploma levels do not meet local standards. He said that all certificate qualifications must take at least one year of study to complete and Diplomas need two years; all must be accredited by relevant authorities in the country. Anything less than this whether local or foreign is a fraud and Kenyans must be wary of the same. He added that such qualifications cannot be used to meet entry requirements for higher training and/or employment. It is important that those taking these qualifications ensure that the qualifications are recognized and equated to the Kenyan equivalents by the KNQA. Dr Mukhwana further said that the
TVET has come along way in Africa
At the dawn of independence in Africa in the 1960s, countries had grandiose plans on how to fight poverty, disease and ignorance. Fifty years later, many of these challenges remain unresolved, especially in the rural areas and other challenges have emerged, including high youth unemployment, failure to industrialize and failure to utilize available natural resources for the benefit of the people among others. Creating economic prosperity in the continent has been constrained by Africa’s lack of critical skills and lack of technology in the production of goods and services essential for meeting such basic needs as food, shelter, water, clothing, energy and infrastructure.
Fifty years down the road of political emancipation, reality has dawned on us that while Education is may be the key to our development, Technical and Vocational education and Training (TVET) is the master key to unlock our potential in meeting our needs and wants. Nobody can tell why it took so long for this to happen. TVET has all along been the missing critical link in Africa’s development agenda and priorities. It is imperative to appreciate that the labour market both in Africa has changed rapidly in the last 10 years, mostly owing to the emergence of information technology and globalization. There is now increasing demand for high skilled labour that possess tertiary and higher education. Those with lower skills are finding it more difficult to find jobs with good remuneration and decent work environments. Also, the era of “white collar” jobs where learned people sat back and directed less educated ones in their jobs is slowly dying. We all must sweat for it and having the right skills in crucial. This thought piece analyses the evolution of the TVET sector in Africa, the challenges that the sector faces and proposes the way forward.
Tracing our roots
Many studies have concluded that educational systems in many African countries are flawed and the neglect of technical education is an obstacle to continental development. It has further been observed that technical qualifications and degrees are regarded as inferior to regular academic degrees. As part of our colonial past, Africans came to appreciate and place more premium on white collar jobs which some scholars think have been responsible for the stagnation of African economies.
Over the years, TVET has taken a more central position when it comes to imparting critical skills that produce goods and services in Africa. It has become the proverbial rejected stone that has now become a corner stone in nation building. Indeed, it has now been found that a country’s social economic development directly correlates which the amount of resources that it invests in the TVET sector.
With burgeoning challenge of youth unemployment, TVET training holds the giving young people the skills to enable them find employment and even start their own businesses. Employability studies in many countries has found that TVET graduates have much better employability when compared with people with academic qualifications. But much of the continent is still trapped with an educational system that still looks at learning as a cognitive process that entails acquiring of knowledge and conceptualization of ideas without much application. This is the system that has brought us to the stagnation that we now find ourselves in, and it is sad that we are still broadcasting it to millions of young people, who are ending up with “lots of academic papers, but no skills. This phenomenon has continued to fuel the “paper chase” as a rite of passage to non-existent employment. This calls for an urgent need for a paradigm shift in Africa’s approach to human resource development in order to respond to changing market needs.
In the Recent past there has been rising consciousness among African Leaders and policy makers on the role that the TVET sector can play in providing the much-needed skills for industrializing the Continent. The increasing importance that Africa is attaching to TVET is reflected in the policies and strategies that the African Union level has recently rolled out to promote TVET training. The TVET sector has attractive features of of having clear orientation towards the world of work and its emphasis of meeting employer needs. The TVET sector is hence well placed to deliver skills, knowledge and expertise that is urgently needed to take the continent to the next level of development and meet the goals of vision 2063.
Additionally, TVET training can take place at different levels of sophistication; both in the classroom, at the place of work, in informal settings and even in industry. Because of this, TVET training is relevant to students from many social economic backgrounds, thereby holding the key to the Continent’s quest to wrestle poverty and create prosperity for all. Consequently, the youth, old, the poor, men, women and even the vulnerable can benefit from participating in TVET training.
The Continent in dreaming again
In its Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education (2006 – 2015), the AU recognised the importance of TVET as a means of empowering individuals to take control of their lives and recommended the integration of TVET training into the general education system. The AU also recognised the fact that vast numbers of young people were outside the formal school system, and consequently recommended the integration of non-formal learning methodologies and literacy programmes into national TVET programmes.
It is within this framework that the African Union Commission spearheaded the development of a new strategy to revitalize TVET in Africa with the following objectives;
- To revitalize, modernize and harmonize TVET in Africa in order to transform it into a mainstream activity for African youth development, youth employment and human capacity building in Africa;
- To position TVET programs and TVET institutions in Africa as vehicles for regional cooperation and integration as well as socio-economic development as it relates to improvements in infrastructure, technological progress, energy, trade, tourism, agriculture and good governance; and
- To mobilize all stakeholders in a concerted effort to create synergies and share responsibilities for the renewal and harmonization of TVET policies, programmes and strategies in Africa.
Re-looking at the policy environment
Many national TVET policies and strategies have been contemplated, discussed and published in Africa. Thanks to UNESCO’s support and promotion of TVET through its international project-UNEVOC. However, implementation of these polices and strategies has wanting. Some of the key factors hindering the exploitation of the full potential of Africa include;
- The lack of commitment to the full implementation of TVET by governments due to its prerequisite considerable financial commitments;
- Lack of participation in curriculum review and training by business and industry;
- Low wages and poor work environments that have discouraged bright youth from pursuing vocationally oriented careers;
- Lack of clear pathways of progression to higher levels of education and training for those with ability and interest;
- Lack of clearly articulated national qualifications frameworks that can harmonize and promote quality training and certification; and
- Lack of an articulated national policy for the determination and award of salaries/wages commensurate with the qualifications, experience, work environment and the demand for services given in the public and private sectors.
In order to maximize TVET’s contribution to the growth and prosperity of Africa, the following needs to be done;
- Implement TVET policies and strategies
We need to go beyond making “beautiful” policies and strategies that just gather dust. There is need to fund and intensify implementation of reform policies within the TVET sector, so that we go beyond just talk.
Review and revise curricular
TVET Curricular in many countries is outdated, irrelevant and out of sync with market needs. There is need to develop new curricular in partnership with employers and the private sector, to ensure that the sector produces skills and competences that are being sought for in the market.
Mind who is teaching
In many countries, training and capacity building of TVET trainers has been neglected. In line with the old adage that you can only pass on what you know, it is important to address the issue of skilling TVET trainers, giving them industry practice and ensuring there is continuous and lifelong learning.
Industry must play a role
Successful TVET programmes cannot operate outside or without the support and contributions of business and industry. Linkages between TVET institutions and the employment sector are important for imparting experience and providing feedback to improve training. Since TVET graduates look forward to working in industry, field attachment and industry-based training is an important part of the training.
Move beyond good talk
The cost of TVET programs is comparatively much higher than that of academic programs because of heavy investment in equipment and tools required for training. If well planned, the TVET sub-sector has many opportunities for income generation to augment government and donor financing. Successful automotive shops, bakeries, building construction units and smart farming entrepreneurships have been implemented in many countries. But the bottom line, is the African Government must move beyond talk and do real and serious investment in the TVET sector, for it to bear the required fruits.
Keep an eye on the market
We must move beyond producing TVET graduates for the sake of doing it. This calls for a comprehensive labour market information system that provides both trainers and industry with accurate information and data on labour demand and supply. This is useful for educational planners, employers and students in making decisions about training, employment and career choices and occupations.
Make TVET attractive
Addressing the concerns raised above cannot make TVET an attractive career choice for many youths. There is need for clear planning to ensure that planned skills are acquired, and that having TVET training leads to truly rewarding careers and lifelong learning. To effectively do this the concerns of parents, employers and others about the TVET sector need to be put into consideration.
Current strategies of the RUFORUM recognize that there is need for more investment into the TVET sector and better integration of the TVET and University education sectors. This will lead to accumulation and transfer of credits and easier progression of learners. The university sector also stands tom learn a great deal from the TVET sector’s approach to practical and work relevant and work-based training. Hence the organization is placing increasing emphasis on universities collaborating and working with TVET institutions.
National efforts must be expended to popularise TVET amongst youth and parents and to ensure that graduates of TVET institutions secure decent employment and remuneration to afford a reasonable quality of life.
The guiding principles that are considered the major drivers of a TVET strategy for Africa are: access and equity, quality, proficiency, and relevance. It is also important that increasing focus be put on employability, entrepreneurship, efficiency, and sustainability. The aim should be to promote linkages and partnerships and responsible citizenship in the utilization and management of natural resources using TVET skills. There is increasing need to promote skills acquisition through competency-based training with proficiency testing for employment, sustainable livelihoods and responsible citizenship. Africa needs to position TVET as a tool for empowering the peoples of Africa, especially the youth, for sustainable livelihoods and the socioeconomic development of the continent.
Occupational Standardization and Facilitation of Career Progression
By Nyamai Wambua
Millions of jua kali artisans have learned on the job and accumulated skills and competencies over many years of practice. Being a hand-to-mouth kind of a sector, majority of the jua kali practitioners do not think of a career, or if at all they do, they mostly think their careers died long when they were either retrenched from their formal jobs, dropped out school or when they just accomplished basic education and ventured into self-employment. This is because there has never been a policy framework to advance one’s childhood career dreams while still working in the informal sector. The two have never been possible to be done together. With a RPL framework, millions of skilled jua kali artisans in Kenya will rekindle their childhood career dreams.
Finally, and most importantly, new entrants into the sector, especially the youth who have talents and would not wish to pursue higher formal education will have an opportunity to pursue an equally dignified career pathway that is clear and comparable to the alternative academic and formal education and career pathways because a comprehensive RPL framework will provide for assessment, weighting, equation and transfer of credits across the qualifications recognized by the pathways.
, knowledge, human capital, capabilities and skills required for the modern Africa.
The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) is aligning its qualifications framework to ensure that Kenyan qualifications can spread across the continent because its impossible to frame business without skills moving, this will create global competitiveness and anchor Kenya as a center of training and education within the African continent.
The increasing importance that Africa is attaching to TVET is reflected in the policies and strategies that the Africa Union (AU) has recently rolled out to promote TVET training. Many studies have concluded that education systems in many African countries are flawed and the neglect of TVET is an obstacle to continental development. To Address these challenge, the Kenya Credit Accumulation Transfer System (KCATS) will help create harmony and coherence in sectors that were training in silos. This will enable TVET learners have a flexible system that embraces quality. CATS system in the country will help in facilitating linkages, credit transfer, exemptions, offer a vertical and horizontal mobility in all the levels of learning and enable entry, re-entry, and exit in the education and training in the country. The CATS system is expected to promote mobility and progression of learners both internationally, nationally and globally which will enhance transparency recognition of the quality of qualifications offered in Kenya and enhance globalization of qualifications in the country.
To promote achievement of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063: The Africa we want, a well coordinated and harmonized education and training sector is crucial in the production of human resources required for implementing Kenya’s Vision 2030. The current Kenyan education and training system is fragmented leading to varied quality of qualifications offered by different sub systems and by different education and training institution. Because of this process and levels, its very cumbersome and sometimes unclear what learners get out of the system. The growing demand for education and training has triggered the establishment of many educational and training institutions and alternative modes of delivery offering both local and foreign qualifications whose comparability is very difficult to discern; and as a result, the KNQA has been mandated by Act no 22 of 2014 to promote better coordination and harmony among the various players in the education and training sector in Kenya.”
CEO KNQA Dr. Juma Mukhwana, addressing the challenge of quality and relevance of qualifications, asserted that “KNQA is in the process of setting up an accurate and robust database of all qualifications attained in Kenya and foreign institutions, that will recognize prior learning and facilitate credit Accumulation and Transfer system at all levels of education in the country allowing for comparability and information sharing in the education sector and globally.”
The RPL Policy aims to develop a responsive and equitable education and training system that will facilitate access, mobility, progression and fair chances to the disadvantaged, discouraged and traditionally marginalized groups, targeting different categories of learners or potential candidates in the society seeking access to certification in Kenya regardless of ones educational background, age, status in society, disability, race , religion or nationality.
KNQA will strive to support national education reforms aimed at improving quality and relevance of the education offered, the equity of learning and the learning outcome to ensure those who come out from education institutions nationally and internationally are able to equitably compete for available resources in the form of jobs and other opportunities hence Improving coordination of the education and training. The ministry of education is making efforts to ensure education plans are a national success and that the policy’s developed will Serve as a bench mark to make education and training more effective, reliable, fair and transparent to learners. This shall be made possible by ensuring that the system that is developed is regulated, maintained and enhanced by quality assurance agency and qualifications awarding bodies.
Shorten your classwork and earn qualifications
- By Alfrick Biegon
Recognition of Prior Learning can shorten your stay in school and earn your qualifications for progression and lifelong learning. Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) developed the Framework for Recognition of Prior Learning Policy 2020 with the intention to map existing skills to Kenya National Qualifications Framework. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), also known as Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), is a process used to identify, assess and certify an RPL candidate’s knowledge, skills and competencies acquired in non-formal or informal learning, such as work or life experiences, against prescribed standards or learning outcomes.
A Jua Kali artisan at work
Figure 1 A Jua Kali artisan at work
Figure 2 A juacali artisan at work
Majority of Kenyans particularly in the Juakali sector possess right knowledge, skills and competences to qualify for particular roles in an organization, but their employers may not be able to recognize those skills without formal qualifications which in turn contributes immensely to vision 2030 skilled workforce. But without this recognition, it will lead to an obstacle in finding a decent and satisfying job. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will assist potential candidates to gain formal qualifications and improve their curriculum vitae and employability in the process.
RPL also intends to encourage lifelong learning and continuous learning, social inclusion, mobility and assist those who may be transitioning from military or emergency service into civilian life.
Being an assessment process, RPL takes into consideration your relevant prior learning experience, whether formal, non-formal, or informal, to identify course credits. It can also help progress through qualifications and fast track or do away with study time based on your previous experiences and knowledge.
Recognition of Prior Learning will be acknowledged by colleges offering an array of online courses on areas like business, work health and safety, security and risk management, marketing, human resources, project management, and much more. It can help one to obtain the qualification he/she needs to advance in their profession, whether you’re taking a diploma, advanced diploma, graduate diploma, or any certification course. RPL will eliminate the need to sit through classes and complete the course traditionally, as long as you are qualified. This way, you can be certified, even without studying or at least minimize the time it takes for you to complete a particular course.
Through Recognition of Prior Learning, you could improve your chance of getting the job you want or be on your way to a promotion. RPL can also be considered by experienced individuals who are currently employed but are looking to advance in their career by applying for a higher position in their industry or organization.
The future of qualifications Beyond 2021
In this case therefore the KNREV portal has come at the right time to ensure that there is consistency and up to standard qualifications that will be recorded in the database for future use. Without a doubt it is therefore safe to state that, the Kenya National Qualifications Framework has a mission of ensuring that learners, workers, job seekers, employers, professionals, education and training providers, institution recognition bodies’ curriculum development bodies, Government authorities and organizations benefit in one way or another up to and including the near future.
The KNRLD has been properly developed and equipped with technology to keep up with the upcoming trends in data management of qualifications, training institutions, awarding qualification bodies and records of learners. In future KNQA will act as a one stop shop for regulating qualifications.
Drawing on Kenya’s experiences of five years of development of a competency and outcomes based National qualifications framework, Kenya has highlights on areas of its greatest contestation and achievement and identified priorities for the future. Kenya National Qualifications Framework, which was conceived and established in the law of transitioning Kenya to being the best education hub in the world in future. As part of an overall strategy to foster a culture of lifelong learning, KNQA focuses on ensuring the implementation of a National Qualifications Framework that is underpinned by systematic coordination, coherence and resource alignment in support of Kenyans Human Resource development strategy and the National skills development strategy.
The objectives of the National Qualifications Framework are stated in the Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) Act. Which is inclusive of creating a holistic , integrated National Framework for learning outcomes; facilitate access to and mobility and progression within progression pathways; training and employment opportunities; and contribute to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the Nation as a whole.
Closer bonds have been built with various stakeholders such as Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA), National Industrial Training Authority (NITA), Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) through the national-international initiative on the recognition of non-formal and informal learning. While on the other hand British council, IEBC and EACC through the scrutiny of fake qualifications. Today KNQA is a leading education authority and an active partner/contributor in National Qualifications Framework related developments continentally and worldwide ensure a brighter future for generations to come.
KNQA teams up with the Department of Immigration Services
Director of Immigration Services Alexander Muteshi, with KNQA chairperson Dr. Kilemi Mwiria and KNQA CEO Dr. Juma Mukhwana after holding discussions at the Directorate of Immigration Services offices.
The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) and the Immigration Services Department have agreed to partner in order to stamp out fake certificates.
KNQA chairperson Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, Director General Dr. Juma Mukhwana and Immigration Services Department Director Mr. Alexander Muteshi agreed that only high quality and genuine qualifications will be admissible in the country.
The two institutions also promised to work together to promote Kenya, as a training hub to support the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and integration which will support free movement of people, skills and services across the continent.
Dr. Mwiria stated that about 30,000 students from Africa come into the country each year to study and therefore the partnership with the Immigration Service Department will ensure that only those with genuine academic documents from their home countries are allowed to study in the country.
The chairperson added that the authority is seeking to bring equity to the qualifications sector so that those with money do not buy academic documents and disadvantage those who have gone to school and worked hard.
Mr. Muteshi who was also accompanied by senior directors at the Immigration Services Department during the meeting at his Nyayo House office, said the Department will support the authority in its endeavors given that foreign citizens seeking education in the country have to pass through the department in order to obtain student Visas and students.
The two agencies agreed that all students coming into the country to study, will have their certificates recognized and verified by KNQA before they are enrolled for studies in the country.
Already regional blocks are working on East Africa Qualifications Framework and IGAD framework. African Union (AU) is also working to establish the African Continental Qualifications Framework (ACQF) noting that integrated Africa is a major transformational outcome of the Agenda 2063 as it will encompass, amongst others, free movement of persons, free trade, customs union, common transport market and an African common education space.
The African Union (AU) and its Member States have decided to equip the continent with the necessary conditions and mechanisms to facilitate mobility and transparency of skills and qualifications, in support of the AU Agenda 2063, through ongoing initiatives in harmonisation of education, development of common standards and qualification frameworks, and the Addis Ababa Convention for mutual recognition of degrees and certificates. The African Continental Free Trade also requires recognition of academic qualifications.
KNQA’s Partnership with IEBC
KNQA Chairperson Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati, IEBC Ag. CEO Marjan Hussein and KNQA CEO Dr. Juma Mukhwana after a meeting to discuss partnership between the two agencies.
The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) has stepped up its engagement with various stakeholders in a bid to get rid of fake academic certificates in the country.
On Wednesday (February 3), the authority’s Chairman Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, Director General Dr. Juma Mukhwana, Mr. Vincent Koech, Deputy Director ICT met with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) Chairman Mr. Wafula Chebukati, Commissioner Prof. Abdi Guliye, acting CEO Marjan Hussein and acting Deputy Commission Secretary Mr. Obadia Keitany to seek partnership on how the two agencies can work to ensure only valid and genuine qualifications are used in the electoral process in Kenya.
“We are here to seek collaboration so that any candidate that will be seeking elective positions among others have their academic certificates vetted. We have the required expertise to handle the vetting of the academic documents,” said Dr. Mwiria during the meeting at Anniversary Towers.
Dr. Mwiria disclosed that the authority has developed a national database for all qualifications which will be a one stop shop for all qualifications in the country.
The database will contain information from all sectors on education and training system.
KNQA chairman observed that the authority is determined to bring order in the education sector by ensuring that all qualifications that are possessed by Kenyans are genuine.
Dr. Mwiria added that elected leaders need to lead by example by only using presenting genuine certificates to the electoral body.
Mr. Chebukati on his part, said the Commission is ready to work with the authority in order to stamp out academic fraud among aspirants.
“We will be happy to work together to address the issue of fake academic qualifications by candidates seeking elective positions,” said Mr. Chebukati.
He said that close to 20,000 candidates are expected to contest various elective positions in the 2022 polls.
Dr. Mukhwana disclosed that 1/3 of Kenyans have fake academic documents and therefore the need to take action against such individuals.
Dr. Mukhwana said the authority is working together with learning institutions to ensure that learners are admitted in programmes that they qualify to study.
“We are working together with universities, TVET and foreign institutions to ensure that the country has genuine and quality qualifications,” said Dr. Mukhwana.
A law requiring candidates seeking to contest for MP and MCA seats to have a university degree qualification is expected to take effect during the 2022 general election.
The law requires Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of County Assembly (MCAs) to have a minimum bachelor’s degree before they are cleared to contest.
According to the KNQF Act, the authority is mandated to maintain a national database of national qualifications and competences, provide for recognition of national and foreign qualifications, establish standards for harmonization of qualifications and build confidence in the national qualification system.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati during the inter-agency meeting
KNQA and DCI vow to weed out Academic Fraud
KNQA Chairperson Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, DCI Director George Kinoti, and KNQA CEO Dr. Juma Mukhwana after a meeting at DCI headquarters in Nairobi.
Kenya National Qualifications of Authority (KNQA) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) have agreed to work together in handling academic fraud in the country.
In a meeting on Tuesday at DCI Headquarters in Nairobi, and which was attended by KNQA chairperson Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, KNQA Director General Dr. Juma Mukhwana and DCI Director George Kinoti, they agreed to form an inter-agency team to handle fake certificates in the country.
The team is expected to expedite its work and net the suspects whom Dr. Mwiria said are using the documents for employment.
“We are working with all stakeholders to eradicate this practice that is denying Kenyans with genuine academic documents, an opportunity to benefit from their hard work in school,” said Dr Mwiria during the meeting.
Mr. Kinoti said the special team that will work with KNQA is experienced in dealing with academic fraud.
He said DCI has been dealing with the cases and it will be happy to partner with KNQA.
Dr. Mukhwana the authority need prosecution power in order to deal with Kenyans who present fake academic documents during recognition and verification.
“We used to turn away people with fake academic qualifications and now with the partnership, the authority will hand them over to DCI,” said Dr. Mukhwana.
Dr. Mukhwana added that it will also be important to work with county governments and other state agencies in order to vet academic certificates of their workers.
Dr. Mukhwana disclosed that 1/3 of Kenyans have fake academic documents and therefore the need to take action against such individuals.
He said the authority is working together with learning institutions to ensure that learners are admitted in programmes that they qualify to study.
“We are working together with universities, TVET and foreign institutions to ensure that the country has genuine and quality qualifications,” said Dr Mukhwana.
EACC Chairperson Archbishop Dr. Eliud Wabukala, Ag. EACC DCEO Mr. Abdi Mohammud, KNQA Chairperson Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, and KNQA Director-General Dr. Juma Mukhwana during a courtesy call at Integrity Centre.
The authority has already met with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Immigration Services Department for partnership. The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) and the Immigration Services Department have agreed to partner in order to stamp out fake certificates.
Q&A WITH C.E.O
KNQA CEO Dr. Juma Mukhwana chairing a meeting between KNQA senior management officers and IHRM board members to review Human Resource Curricular in the country to align it to the KNQF
- What is the key role of KNQA especially when it comes to TVET institutes? The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) is established under the Kenya National qualifications framework (KNQF) act of 2014; and is the Custodian of Kenyan qualifications. The Authority’s work is to define the various qualifications offered in the country and the inter-relationships between them. It also regulates the volume of learning, learning outcomes and admission requirements for all qualifications in Kenya. The work of the Authority cuts across the Basic, TVET and University sectors; and includes accrediting, and registering Qualifications awarding Institutions (QAIs), Professional bodies, External Quality assurance agencies, as well as local and foreign assessment and examination bodies (and the qualifications that they award and/or regulate) into the KNQF. Through this process, the Authority registers qualifications into the KNQF, and thereby makes them national qualifications that are internationally recognized and respected.
- Recently KNQA ordered that the diplomas and certificates being offered by universities must be approved by the Technical and Vocational Training Authority (TVETA). What really motivated this directive? The KNQA’s main work is to create a one stop registers for all accredited institutions, qualifications and learners in the country. In carrying out its work, the Authority works to (1) Secure qualifications standards in the country, (2) Promote Quality in National Assessments and qualifications, (3) Promote public confidence in National qualifications, and (4) Ensure that registered qualifications meet Kenyan Standards. The law requires that only quality assured qualifications are registered and maintained in the KNQF. We expect that all TVET qualifications registered on the platform are regulated and quality assured by either TVETA or professional bodies, University ones by CUE (or professional bodies) and basic education qualifications by the Educational standards and Quality Assurance council (ESQAC).
- How will the Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) streamline higher education in Kenya? We regulate qualifications within the context of the Kenya government policy, the KNQF act and KNQF regulations, 2018. We are part of the bigger Government agenda to reform education and training in Kenya; to bring better coordination and harmony in this vital sector. Currently we are engaged with the government’s far reaching reforms in the technical and vocational training sector, specifically with the introduction of the Competence based training system and improved student mobility across the various levels of our education system. KNQA has described 10 levels for the education system in Kenya. At each level, the authority has prescribed the desired learning outcomes (in terms of skills, knowledge and competencies) that learners must have; when leaving that level. All qualifications in the country that meet similar training outcomes are classified and registered at the same levels. Working with stakeholders in the education sector, the Authority has recently developed and gazette new admission requirements for all levels of the Kenyan education system. This has brought in consistency and better linkages between the various levels of our education and training system. The Authority has developed and is now implementing new standards, guidelines and policies in the assessment and quality assurance of qualifications. We are also working with stakeholders to create a national credit accumulation and transfer system (dubbed the Kenya Credit Accumulation and Transfer system, KCATs) to support student mobility across different levels.
- What should be done to ensure TVET produces the drivers of Big Four Agenda? We anticipate changes in the qualifications market given the scale of reforms within the country and the demands from the Big 4 agenda. We are also very much alive to the persistent demands by industry for qualifications that meet their requirements. Our aim is to create and award qualifications in the country that meet industry needs. And, to help achieve this the KNQA works very closely with employers and industry in the country to ensure that the qualifications that are offered in the country meet their needs. To help ensure this, the KNQA Board consists of representatives from the Federation of Kenya employers, central organization of trade unions and the Ministry of labour among others; who ensure that we council widely with all stakeholders when developing and implementing educational standards in the country.
- As a body what should we expect from you in the next five years? The work we do at KNQA directly has an impact on every learner in Kenya, who studies at any level of our education system. We do not underestimate the importance of the maintenance of standards, the safe and efficient delivery of assessments and examinations and public confidence in the system, for both these students and those who rely on the qualifications they achieve. At the heart of our work is validity – our primary focus that qualifications are good quality, their standards are maintained, and they accurately indicate what individuals know and can do. Quality assured qualifications play an important role in the lives of young people in their progression to higher education or work. We can assure you that the educational landscape in Kenya is going to change with the entry of KNQA. We shall have much better-quality education that is harmonized and well-coordinated
FAQs ON QUALIFICATIONS
- What is the key role of KNQA especially when it comes to TVET institutes?
The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) is established under the Kenya National qualifications framework (KNQF) act of 2014; and is the Custodian of Kenyan qualifications. The Authority’s work is to define the various qualifications offered in the country and the inter-relationships between them. It also regulates the volume of learning, learning outcomes and admission requirements for all qualifications in Kenya. The work of the Authority cuts across the Basic, TVET and University sectors; and includes accrediting, and registering Qualifications awarding Institutions (QAIs), Professional bodies, External Quality assurance agencies, as well as local and foreign assessment and examination bodies (and the qualifications that they award and/or regulate) into the KNQF. Through this process, the Authority registers qualifications into the KNQF, and thereby makes them national qualifications that are internationally recognized and respected.
- Recently KNQA ordered that the diplomas and certificates being offered by universities must be approved by the Technical and
Vocational Training Authority (TVETA). What really motivated this directive?
The KNQA’s main work is to create a one stop registers for all accredited institutions, qualifications and learners in the country. In carrying out its work, the Authority works to (1) Secure qualifications standards in the country, (2) Promote Quality in National Assessments and qualifications, (3) Promote public confidence in National qualifications, and (4) Ensure that registered qualifications meet Kenyan Standards.
The law requires that only quality assured qualifications are registered and maintained in the KNQF. We expect that all TVET qualifications registered on the platform are regulated and quality assured by either TVETA or professional bodies, University ones by CUE (or professional bodies) and basic education qualifications by the Educational standards and Quality Assurance council (ESQAC).
- How will the Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) streamline higher education in Kenya?
We regulate qualifications within the context of the Kenya government policy, the KNQF act and KNQF regulations, 2018. We are part of the bigger Government agenda to reform education and training in Kenya; to bring better coordination and harmony in this vital sector. Currently we are engaged with the government’s far reaching reforms in the technical and vocational training sector, specifically with the introduction of the Competence based training system and improved student mobility across the various levels of our education system.
KNQA has described 10 levels for the education system in Kenya. At each level, the authority has prescribed the desired learning outcomes (in terms of skills, knowledge and competencies) that learners must have; when leaving that level. All qualifications in the country that meet similar training outcomes are classified and registered at the same levels. Working with stakeholders in the education sector, the Authority has recently developed and gazetted new admission requirements for all levels of the Kenyan education system. This has brought in consistency and better linkages between the various levels of our education and training system.
The Authority has developed and is now implementing new standards, guidelines and policies in the assessment and quality assurance of qualifications. We are also working with stakeholders to create a national credit accumulation and transfer system (dubbed the Kenya Credit Accumulation and Transfer system, KCATs) to support student mobility across different levels.
- What should be done to ensure TVET produces the drivers of Big Four Agenda?
We anticipate changes in the qualifications market given the scale of reforms within the country and the demands from the Big 4 agenda. We are also very much alive to the persistent demands by industry for qualifications that meet their requirements. Our aim is to create and award qualifications in the country that meet industry needs. And, to help achieve this the KNQA works very closely with employers and industry in the country to ensure that the qualifications that are offered in the country meet their needs. To help ensure this, the KNQA Board consists of representatives from the Federation of Kenya employers, central organization of trade unions and the Ministry of labour among others; who ensure that we council widely with all stakeholders when developing and implementing educational standards in the country.
- As a body what should we expect from you in the next five years?
The work we do at KNQA directly has an impact on every learner in Kenya, who studies at any level of our education system. We do not underestimate the importance of the maintenance of standards, the safe and efficient delivery of assessments and examinations and public confidence in the system, for both these students and those who rely on the qualifications they achieve. At the heart of our work is validity – our primary focus that qualifications are good quality, their standards are maintained, and they accurately indicate what individuals know and can do. Quality assured qualifications play an important role in the lives of young people in their progression to higher education or work. We can assure you that the educational landscape in Kenya is going to change with the entry of KNQA. We shall have much better-quality education that is harmonized and well-coordinated.