KNQA: Fake academic papers still headache to education

KNQA CEO Dr Alice Kande, making a keynote speech during accreditation of Kenya Redcross Training Institute by Kenya National Qualifications Authority at Boma hotel on January 17, 2023. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

It has emerged that fake academic papers still remain a challenge that must be confronted by the government to guarantee the credibility of Kenya's education.

Even as Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) continues to create an enabling environment for lifelong learning, fostering quality of qualifications, and creating international recognition and comparability of qualification systems, the authority continues facing various challenges.

KNQA states that the disconnect between qualifications and actual skills, fraudulent documents, and fragmentation of qualifications systems and documentation systems continue giving the authority a big headache.

The government body now says there is a need for the Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions to set the pace in curricula development, training, and assessment to ensure targeted training for increased employability.

Principal Secretary, State Department for TVETs Esther Muoria said a review of regulations and regularization will ensure that qualifications awarded in the country meet the international standards of the labour market.

The PS said that the establishment of a comprehensive qualifications database to address the existing challenges of counterfeit credentials is crucial.

She said this will ensure opportunities are granted solely to those possessing verifiable evidence eliminating fraudulent certificates.

"By establishing a comprehensive qualifications database, we will address the pervasive issue of counterfeit credentials,'' she said.

PS was speaking at a retreat in Mombasa to review the strategic plan of the KNQA Council.

The PS urged the authority to ensure the institutions provide objective qualifications and skills that will uphold the integrity of academic and qualifications systems.

''I urge you to align the plan with the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda with regard to creating decent opportunities for all, thus creating a just and equitable society,'' Dr Muoria said.

KNQA acting Director General Dr Alice Kande said the Plan is tailored to the current Government's priorities, although greatly dependent on the economical and the political pillars of vision 2030 and medium term plan IV.

"Lifelong learning is currently one of the driving factors of the Kenyan curriculum, from basic education to the highest levels of learning. The Authority prides itself in creating an enabling environment for lifelong learning, fostering quality of qualifications, and creating international recognition and comparability of qualification systems," said Dr Kande.

She went on: "The journey towards better coordination and harmony in the education and training system begun earnest when the KNQF Act came into force and when KNQA was established to implement the framework. "

Dr Kande said the Authority will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that quality education and qualifications in the country.

PS stated that flexibility, innovation and execution matter much more than decades-old qualifications or work experiences with the emerging technology era.

Dr Muoria emphasized the crucial role done by the authority in the development and implementation of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy.

The document was formulated by the State Department for TVET and partners including International Labour Organization (ILO).

Upon implementation, it will re-focus and re-articulate the strategic direction of KNQA for the next five years, take stock of the successes, challenges and lessons learned.

Furthermore, it will fore ground lifelong learning, skills development and emphasizing mechanisms that ensure quality and relevant qualifications are key indicators that this plan is not only up to-date but also revolutionary.

The PS called for concentration on foregrounding lifelong learning, skills development and emphasizing on mechanisms that ensure quality and relevant qualifications will revolutionise the sector.

KNQA Council Acting Chairperson Rosemary Njogu said the authority is at an advanced stage in putting in place a fully equipped and up to date National Learner's Records Database.

''We have developed a couple of national policies, standards and guidelines to implement the framework. We have carried out stakeholder sensitization and continued to give the Framework an international Visibility,'' she added.

Njogu said the journey towards better coordination and harmony in the education and training system began when the KNQA Act came into force which established KNQA to implement the framework.

She further said as much as the strategic plan should be tailored to the current Government's priorities, it will greatly basically peg on the economical and the political pillars of vision 2030.

''Our strategic plan zeros into the social pillar of this vision by a great extent which blends well with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This specific focus on Goal 4 which emphasizes on the need for quality education and aims at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education,'' she stated.

She said a total of 10-level national qualifications frameworks are set by the authority which allows for articulation, classification, accreditation, Quality assurance, assessment and examination of national qualifications.

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