The value of TVET qualifications awarded by KNEC

Photo credit: KNEC

Brief History of Kenya National Examinations Council

The Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) was established in 1980 to conduct school, post-school, and other examinations. Its formation followed the dissolution of East African Examinations Council. KNEC took over the roles of ensuring validity and reliability of examinations, ascertaining alignment with Kenya’s educational goals.

KNEC is a household name in Kenya. For most, it has nurtured them from primary, through secondary to university. KCPE, KPSEA, and KCSE examinations often take centre stage in discussions concerning examinations and assessments. However, not much is said about the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) assessments that KNEC has offered for over 40 years.

The Government, as per Vision 2030, seeks to ensure equitableness and access to TVET. KNEC is committed to playing its part in creating a workforce that participates in the achievement of Vision 2030 through assessment. These actions are geared towards the country’s goals of (i) improving education access and relevance; (ii) including technical training in lower education levels; and (iii) incorporating entrepreneurship and innovation in technical training.

The value of the qualifications awarded by KNEC rests on four pillars as follows:

  • Management of the training programmes developed by KICD and administered by public and private training institutions to ensure adherence to national training standards.
  • An objective examinations development process that ensures all aspects of the curriculum are tested.
  • An examination administration process that ensures candidates are exposed to the same examination environment countrywide.
  • An assessment process which guarantees that every candidate is awarded the score they achieve.

Who we are in examinations and assessments

KNEC is one of the leading educational assessment boards in Africa. It handles Basic Education, Teacher and TVET assessments. The course curriculums are designed by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and are offered to over 500 leading training institutions in Kenya. The institutions offering TVET assessments include Universities, National Polytechnics, and Technical Training Institutes (TTI), Technical and Vocational Training Colleges (TVC), Vocational Training Centres (VTC) and Private TVET institutions.

Enrolment in KNEC TVET course has been steadily rising over the years. Currently, KNEC assesses over 250,000 candidates in diverse fields, including engineering, architecture, applied sciences, accounting, agriculture, social sciences, hair dressing, fashion and design, culinary arts, secretarial, ICT, hospitality, and building and construction.

Since inception, over 2.5 million professionals have undertaken KNEC TVET courses. These certificates have enabled them achieve career growth and financial stability. Some even run successful businesses.

TVET courses offered by KNEC

There are four levels of TVET courses: National Vocational Certificate of Education and Training (NVCET), Artisan, Craft, Diploma, and Higher Diploma. Entry to these levels are after completing primary, secondary education or lower TVET level. KICD centrally develops the curricula for these courses by engaging a wide range of stakeholders and specialists in industry, academia, and government. These stakeholders ensure courses meet respective requirements globally.

Involvement of industry stakeholders

Industry stakeholders involved in the development of curricula and in assessment include the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for marine engineering and nautical science courses, International Civil Aviation organisation (ICAO) for aviation courses, Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board (KPPB), Kenya Dietitians Institute (KDI), and Kenya Medical Laboratories Technicians and Technologists Board (KMLTTB), among others.

Modular courses

TVET courses are offered in modules, with two modules for craft certificate courses and three for diploma. Modular courses break the course content into smaller manageable units, which are easier on the candidates. All courses have both practical and theory elements, which are assessed at the institution level and during KNEC assessments.

Setting and moderation of assessments

KNEC adopts international best practice in the development of TVET examinations. KNEC competitively contracts suitably qualified professionals from industry, colleges, polytechnics, universities, and professional and research organisations to set, moderate and grade the TVET examinations. The assessments are criterion-referenced and competency-based.

Continuous assessment

Assessments conducted during training at the institution include Practical Phase tests and Theory tests, which cover the core competency areas.

Incorporation of entrepreneurship, communication and ICT skills in all courses

In recognition of their importance, all courses have components of entrepreneurship, communication and ICT. These units are compulsory for all candidates.

Trade and entrepreneurship project work

Each candidate is required to conduct trade and entrepreneurship research projects and present their reports. These research projects are supervised and assessed by panels of tutors at the institution according to KNEC guidelines. The projects constitute a compulsory unit of their course.

Practical assessment

Photo credit: KNEC

KNEC sets and administers practical assessments for courses that have practical components. These consist of timed practical assessments ranging between six and 25 hours. These are scheduled during the normal assessment periods in March, July, and November.

Monitoring and quality assurance

All assessments and examinations are monitored by KNEC to guarantee quality. KNEC regularly sends out its officers who have the required professional qualifications and experience to evaluate the conduct of the internal and external assessments. This is done to ensure the adherence to training and assessment standards.

Online services

Administration of TVET assessments is aided by a robust online assessment management system that links KNEC and all institutions undertaking TVET assessment. This system handles registration of candidates, uploading of coursework marks, and project milestones.

Candidates are able to view online result statements and request correction of errors using the Query Management Information System (QMIS). This system also allows them to request sending of results confirmations to employers and institutions when they make applications for higher studies.

Benefits of KNEC TVET certification

  • International recognition: The KNEC certificate has assurance of quality, credibility and validity that is internationally recognised. With a KNEC certificate, you can go anywhere in the world and your training and certificates are recognised, thereby enabling your career growth.
  • Practical skills: The KNEC certificate confirms your skills as acquired through TVET training. The TVET certificate incorporates the testing of practical skills in the institutions, course work, and projects. The practical skill abilities are not only certified by the internal trainer, but also by external assessors.
  • Flexibility: One can practise, continue with studies, and even get exemptions in higher learning programmes such as universities in Kenya. This is unlike other certifications that do not guarantee exemptions or practice out of Kenya. The KNEC assessment procedures are internationally peer reviewed to warrant the world accreditation status.
  • Career development: With the KNEC TVET certificate, one can proceed to the next level of studies. With a diploma, for example, one can proceed to the degree level with a possibility of getting exemptions in some courses. The hierarchical structure of KNEC courses ensures that trainees are able to progress in the careers of their choice. This instance enables a trainee to enrol for a craft certificate in Building Technology, and on completion at Module II, enrol for a diploma in Building Engineering Technology at Module II, having been exempted from Module I on the basis of the craft qualification. As part of the academic programme, trainees are also required to be attached to industry in order to gain practical skills. This ensures that graduating trainees are able to undertake tasks assigned at the workplace with minimal or no supervision.
  • All-rounded professionals: As one goes up the ladder with studies, the TVET certification shows the wide knowledge acquired in different levels, making one well-grounded in both practical skill and the theoretical knowledge necessary for continuity in higher learning.
  • You can start from where you are: KNEC has an assessment for all levels of training. Anyone can qualify for KNEC examination after training. With KCPE or evidence to read and write, one can train to do a KNEC examination and be certified. One can then move to certificate level, diploma and higher diploma levels. One can also train directly for diploma certification after high school with C- or get Higher National Diploma TVET certificate with a degree.
Photo credit: KNEC

Recognition of Prior Learning: The Alternative Route

Some people have been practising a particular trade learnt through interest or apprenticeship, but have no training certificates to ascertain their training. This is known as “prior learning.” KNEC is developing a programme and will award certificates for it.

In summary, the programmes administered and examined by KNEC, provide trainees with the practical competencies to execute assigned tasks.

**********

Frequently asked questions

How do I start if I don’t have any qualifications?

You may register for:

  • The National Vocational Certificate of Education and Training (NVCET) courses.
  • The Single and Group level 1 courses. You may proceed to Single and Group level 2 and 3. A full qualification at Single and Group level 3 is equivalent to a diploma and qualifies one to join university.

How do I start if I only have a KCPE certificate?

You may register for:

  • The National Vocational Certificate of Education and Training (NVCET) courses.
  • The Single and Group level 1 courses. You may proceed to Single and Group level 2 and 3. A full qualification at Single and Group level 3 is equivalent to a diploma and qualifies one to join university.
  • The Artisan certificate courses. Upon completion, you may opt to proceed to Craft certificate and Diploma level. A diploma qualifies one to join university.

How do I start if I have KCSE D- and below?

You may register for:

  • The National Vocational Certificate of Education and Training (NVCET) courses.
  • The Single and Group level 1 courses. You may proceed to Single and Group level 2 and 3. A full qualification at Single and Group level 3 is equivalent to a diploma and qualifies one to join university.
  • The Artisan certificate courses. Upon completion, you may opt to proceed to Craft certificate and Diploma level. A Diploma qualifies one to join university.

How do I start if I have KCSE D and D+?

You may register for a Craft certificate course and then proceed to Diploma level. A diploma qualifies one to join university.

How do I start if I have KCSE C- and above?

You may register for a Diploma course. A diploma qualifies one to join university.

How about a Higher Diploma?

You may proceed to a Masters level university course.

What if I have skills but don’t have a certificate?

If you have been practicing a particular trade learnt through interest or apprenticeship but have nothing to show for it, you may apply for a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) certification.

How do I find a college?

TVET courses are offered in Universities, National Polytechnics and Technical Training Institutes (TTI), Technical and Vocational Training Colleges (TVC), Vocational Training Centres (VTC) and Private TVET institutions spread across the country. You may approach an institution near you and enquire about registration for your course of interest. You may also visit your local sub-county Education office and make enquiries on institutions available locally.

**********

Testimonials

How TVET helps persons with disability: Wepukhulu’s Experience

David Ndinyo Wepukhulu pursued a KNEC TVET course before proceeding for his university course. Now he works as a trainer.

After his secondary school examination, David acquired a certificate in civil engineering. The certificate gave him a direct pass to a Diploma course, which took him three years. Afterwards, he pursued a diploma in Technical Education, qualifying as a technical teacher.

David enrolled at the Kenya Polytechnic for Higher Diploma in Construction. After successful completion, he was employed as a technical trainer at college level and later at the Ministry of Public Works as a structural assistant. He further pursued a degree in civil engineering and completed his BSC in Civil Engineering in 2012, and graduated in 2013.  Currently, he is employed with the Teaches Service Commission.

David started off as an examinations officer; took a Diploma in Civil Engineering, Building Construction, Architecture; higher Diploma in Construction; and a Bachelor’s degree at Technical University of Kenya. He has risen through the ranks from a trainer to a Head of Department, a position he holds to date. David believes that competence-based education and training is the way to go.

Technical Education is the Way to Go, Says John Kipmemboi Chumba

John Kipkemboi Chumba, Deputy Principal and Trainer at Endebess Technical and Vocational College, is a beneficiary of technical education, having pursued a Diploma in Technical Education at Kenya School of TVET (Then KTTC). After his Ordinary Level examination, John did a diploma in Agricultural Engineering at Eldoret Polytechnic and was assessed by KNEC.

John was employed by the TSC and taught in various Secondary schools. He transferred to Technical Training Institutes. Currently, he is a Deputy Principal at Endebess Technical Training Institute. In his position, he has trained and mentored many youths.

According to John, the quality of Technical Training and Education in Kenya is among the top in the world, “thanks to the Kenya National Examination Council, which has managed to maintain a high standard of evaluation, administration and certification in technical education sector”.

He adds: “Technical training is the backbone of industrial and economic growth in the world today. Technical education is the way to go in the current world of rapid technological growth in order to cope with the changes, and to be part of the changes.”

Maithia’s Views on KNEC TVET Assessment

Emmanuel Maithia has also benefitted from the TVET course. The Craft and Diploma qualifications awarded to candidates examined by KNEC in a wide variety of technical training areas are highly valued and well recognised by industry due to the rigorous standards applied by KNEC to ensure training institutions prepare trainees adequately for not only the job market but also self-employment.

As an example, trainees specialising in courses offered under the Civil and Highway Engineering disciplines are well absorbed in the building and road construction sectors as supervisors, designers and technicians, among many others. KNEC graduands therefore, provide the critical skills and expertise required by the infrastructure sector.


Visit the KNEC website for more information.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.