State banks on national database to curb fake certificates crisis

There is a need for the government to carry out an extensive audit of academic certificates. [iStockphoto]

The government is implementing reforms in the education and training sector to stop the proliferation of fake academic and professional certificates.

The reforms aim to enhance the quality and integrity of qualifications while facilitating seamless matching of skilled individuals with job opportunities, to bolster Kenya's workforce and economy.

State Department for Technical, Vocational Education and Training Principal Secretary Esther Muoria said the government had put in place mechanisms to establish a comprehensive database for all qualifications in the country.

Muoria emphasised the need for a comprehensive database to centralise all qualifications.

Speaking during stakeholders' validation of the National Policy Framework Accreditation System in Machakos County, she said that in future, any certificate issued by institutions of higher learning must be approved by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA).

“The establishment of a National Accreditation system is in alignment with these reforms. Moving forward, no certificate shall be conferred without prior registration by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority,” she said.

Once implemented, the PS explained, the system will govern the registration for awarding institutions and their respective qualifications.

“This commitment upholds credibility and excellence as paramount principles. This initiative will profoundly impact the promotion of lifelong learning and the adoption of global best practices, aligning our efforts with internationally recognised standards,” she said.

She challenged the institutions to ensure well-developed frameworks are implemented in their respective areas for sustainable impact and mobility of skills and labour in the region.

“The Recognition for Prior Learning is here to bridge the gap and provide inclusivity. The certificates are not only necessary for job security and labour export, they are also evidence of an individual’s skills,” she said.

This comes as the government intensifies efforts to address the prevalence of fraudulent certificates in the job market. Investigative agencies have flagged about 2,000 government officers with fake academic certificates.

KNQA Director General Alice Kande highlighted the importance of the Kenya National Learners Records Database in combating fraudulent certifications and ensuring easy access to a qualified workforce for employers.

“The establishment of the Kenya National Learners Records Database will govern the registration process for awarding institutions and their qualifications and establish a comprehensive database of national qualifications to combat fraudulent certifications,” Kande said.

She noted that plans were underway to review relevant Acts and regulations to streamline operations and eliminate overlaps among regulatory bodies in the education sector.

This includes harmonising National Occupation Standards and developing competency-based curricula to meet industrial demands.

“The KNQA assumes the overarching regulatory role within the qualifications system, bringing together institutions that award qualifications, both within and outside the education and training sectors,” said Kande.