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Qualifications agency set to roll out prior learning plan

 KNQA acting Chief Executive Officer Alice Kande. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard].

The government is seeking a policy that will operationalise Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for targeted groups across the country.

Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) says the policy will guide the implementation of the process.

KNQA acting Chief Executive Officer Alice Kande said the Ministry of Education had given a green light to the rollout in two months.

"I can confirm that the critical building blocks of RPL have already been established including regulatory framework, institutional framework, quality assurance, stakeholder involvement and a framework on financing," Dr Kande said.

She was addressing the media during a workshop to validate a draft framework on Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) of assessing the RPL in Machakos County.

RPL is a process used to identify, assess, and certify a person's knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired in a non-formal and informal setting such as work or life experiences against prescribed standards or learning outcomes.

Dr Kande said the multi-sectoral and multi-agency initiatives which began three years ago aimed at establishing a functional RPL system had borne significant progress.

She said there were indicators the RPL programme will attract beneficiaries interested in getting their skills and knowledge certified.

"The uptake is going to be massive because quite a huge number of people have expressed an interest in RPL. Ours is to ensure there will be strict compliance with the laid down regulations and policy guidelines so as to safeguard the integrity of the certifications," Dr Kande said.

The revelations came even as the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Vocational and Technical Training, Esther Muoria said the government was ready to support the RPL programme through funding and involving the private sector.

"We shall be recognising all manner of skills across the board and we have therefore convened and brought on board stakeholders to review and validate the proposed framework for costing the assessment and certification of skills and competencies in different areas," said Dr Kande.

She added: "The government is working very closely with the private sector to ensure everybody with a skill is acknowledged and provided with opportunities to grow."

She said the government will embark on a public awareness campaign to ensure people understand RPL, especially those who have acquired skills outside formal learning.

"We want to ensure that those who acquired skills outside formal learning gain recognition and be in a position to even move upwards academically, both nationally and internationally," Dr Kande said.

She said the Ministry of Education will explore alternative mechanisms of facilitating access to RPL through established institutions such as the Higher Education Loans Board.

Muoria said the Ministry of Education will be looking into ways to facilitate accessibility to RPL possibly by introducing some form of loans even as we leverage support from our key partners such as ILO.

"We envisage a situation where every Kenyan with competence in a skill area is afforded an opportunity to thrive," said Muoria.

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