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Artisans with no training to get certified

By Augustine Oduor | February 27th 2021

Elvis Luhaya (right) and June Maloba at their workshop in Lurambi, Kakamega County. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

The stage is now set to award academic certificates to the first lot of Kenyans who have over years acquired hands-on skills without formal training.

The Saturday Standard has established that the exercise that will officially recognise and award qualifications to hands-on carpenters, mechanics, plumbers or salonists may start in August.

Their work experiences will be evaluated and rewarded under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), in an elaborate plan to nurture talent and spur economic growth.

The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) has already unveiled a technical steering committee to spearhead the exercise.

Committee members

Representatives from Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA), Curriculum Development, Assessment and Certification Council (CEDAC), National Industrial Training Institute (NITA) and Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) are members of the committee.

Others are Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu), office of TVET Principal Secretary, Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Association (KNF JKA), Kenya Engineering Technology Registration Board (KETRB) and the Refugee Affairs Secretariat (RAS).

Stanley Maindi, the KNQA director of technical services will chair the nine-member committee.

The committee completed an induction session yesterday with firm instructions to fast track operationalisation of the RPL.

Juma Mukhwana, the KNQA director general asked the steering committee to move with speed to ensure the implementation of the RPL takes effect.

“We have worked on policies for RPL for long and now it’s time to start the implementation,” said Dr Mukhwana during the induction workshop for members of the national steering committee in Naivasha.

He disclosed that tender for the development of RPL information management system has been floated and will soon be awarded.

“The system will have details of all RPL qualifications in the country,” said Mukwana, adding that there was need to create more awareness in the country on RPL.

International Labour Oraganisation (ILO) chief technical advisor Caroline Njuki said the organisation will work with the government and workers unions to ensure realisation of RPL.

“We want qualifications that will be appreciated by all employers,” said Ms Njuki.

Patrick Werquin, the ILO international consultant, also addressed the meeting.

Finer details show that the committee will now come up with practical steps to help millions of Kenyans to acquire higher academic levels by rewarding skills acquired over time.

The committee is expected, within strict timelines, to fine-tune ways of implementing the RPL policy that was developed by the KNQA.

KNQA has developed and published 10 levels of the Kenyan qualifications and the standards that will make it easier for candidates to progress smoothly from lower levels of education to higher levels.

For instance, if a mechanic, carpenter, hairdresser, plumber, welder or mason gets assessed and he or she is found to have the right abilities, their skills will be equated to Level Three.

According to the minimum admission requirements, Level Three admission criteria requires one to be a holder of a certificate of experiential learning issued by the authority.

This will then allow the students to progress to Level Four, which results to an artisan certificate qualification.

And if the same student opts to progress further, he or she will move to Level Five to obtain a craft certificate, then Level Six, which results in diploma certificate qualification.

The student can further progress to Level Seven to obtain degree qualifications and also move to Level Eight which gives him post-graduate diploma or certificate.

Levels nine and 10 result in masters degree and doctorate degrees respectively.

This now means that Kenyans who have acquired such skills – even without proper education backgrounds – will be able to approach a relevant training college or qualification awarding institutions (QAIs) and apply for recognition of their skills that would lead to highest level of education and skilling.

The RPL policy, standards and guidelines will provide candidates and learners with a fair and accessible process of evaluation, assessment, documentation and recognition of their acquired skills, knowledge and competencies.

Upload profile

According to the guidelines, once candidates (persons with skills) with the prior skills have identified the college of their choice, they will be required to upload their profile on an online system, including their portfolio.

Facilitators appointed by the college will assess candidate’s suitability for a specific qualification, provide the necessary information about learning outcomes and competency standards required for the qualification and the nature of evidence required.

Evidence will include letters of recommendation, sample(s) of candidate’s work and product, videos and/or photographs of work activities, skills or job descriptions.

Details of formal training, records of seminars, conferences and workshops attended, resume and performance appraisals or testimonials from current or previous employers and customers will also form part of evidence to be analysed.

Once the application has been done, the candidate will be vetted by an assessor who will screen evidence produced.

“If the assessor is not satisfied, the candidate will be told of the shortcomings and advised on how to collect additional evidence or upgrade the knowledge and skills,” reads the guidelines.

Once the assessors are satisfied, the candidate will be enrolled to the college based on the minimum admission requirements for national qualifications framework levels.

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