State body wants all universities, colleges and exam bodies to apply for accreditation by March next year.
Examination bodies, universities and middle-level colleges have been given three months to register for certification by a State agency.
It emerged yesterday that the institutions may lose their power to award national qualifications by March next year if they fail to apply for accreditation with the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA).
KNQA Director-General Juma Mukhwana said the agency had written to all universities, examination bodies and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions to comply by the set date.
Section 5 (1) of the Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) Act states that an institution will not award national qualifications unless it is accredited and recognised by the KNQA.
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Section 5 (2) further says that any person who contravenes the provisions of the Act is liable to six months imprisonment or a fine of Sh500,000 or both.
Dr Mukhwana said section 30 of the Act had given the institutions a two-year transition window to comply with the law, which has now lapsed. He said the extended three-month window is adequate time for compliance.
The authority is also mandated to develop policies and systems for assessment and examination of national qualifications, maintain a database of national qualifications and also develop and maintain a national quality assurance system for national qualifications.
Dr Mukhwana said enforcement of the law would help correct examination malpractices that have been rampant in the country as it sets standards for the setting, marking and management of national examinations.
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Among the institutions that need to register with the authority are local and foreign examination bodies such as the Kenya National Examinations Council, the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board, professional bodies that award various qualifications in the country and quality assurance bodies.
TVET institutions such as KMTC, Kenya Water Institute and other institutions that have their own Acts of Parliament to award qualifications are also listed.