Fake certificates could land you in jail, authority warns


(Front from left) Dr Julius Jwan, PS for Technical and Vocational Education, CEO KNQA Dr Juma Mukhwana, CAS Education Zack Kinuthia and Chairman KNQA Council Dr Kilemi Mwiria pose with the Kenya National Qualification Authority book during a presser at Uchumi House in Nairobi on Wednesday August 19,2020.



Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • KNQA council chair Dr Kilemi Mwiria said the current education and training system in the country is fragmented leading to varied quality of qualifications.
  • Education chief administrative secretary, Zack Kinuthia, said the qualifications body should be given power to arrest and prosecute academic fraudsters.

  • Mr Kinuthia said globally, qualifications authorities have prosecutorial powers and that has significantly minimised academic fraudsters.

The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) has begun streamlining the education system in the country with an aim to rid it of fake certificates and degrees. 

KNQA council chair Dr Kilemi Mwiria said the current education and training system in the country is fragmented leading to varied quality of qualifications.

“It is difficult to compare and equate qualifications offered by different sub-systems and by different educational and training institutions. Because of this process and levels, it’s very cumbersome; and sometimes unclear what the learners get out of the system” he said.

The Kenyan education system has faced many challenges, chief among them being commercialisation of tertiary and higher education which has resulted in mass production of thousands of questionable diplomas, undergraduate and graduate degrees, PhDs and other qualifications.

The authority will implement the new measures in the newly launched 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. It has been working to march academic qualifications for students who acquire education abroad with set standards in the country.

Positive step

Dr Mwiria said, the strategic plan launched a week ago is a positive step by the Authority in addressing the underlying challenges facing education and training in Kenya.

Education chief administrative secretary, Zack Kinuthia, said the qualifications body should be given power to arrest and prosecute academic fraudsters.

He proposed that Parliament, through the Education Committee, should amend the KNQA Act and give it powers to prosecute Kenyans who present fake and dubious academic certificates while seeking for employment.

He said the Act, as crafted in 2014, does not envisage a decree that empowers KNQA to arrest and prosecute people in possession of fake certificates.

“Our law as was crafted in 2014 does not envisage a place where the body will have arresting and prosecutorial powers and this has greatly hampered and let loose the space so that fraudsters are all over holding in-genuine and fake academic certificates”, he explained,

Adding “We have discussed with the KNQA council and we will moot the idea of asking for an amendment of the Act to include and allow the biting power for Qualifications Authority to the offender.”

Mr Kinuthia said globally, qualifications authorities have prosecutorial powers and that has significantly minimised academic fraudsters.

Dubious certificates

“It means that if you are found to have cheated your way into the academy and possessing dubious certificates, the various countries mechanism through qualifications authorities have powers to arrest, detain and prosecute you according to the rules of that country and this has significantly reduced fraudsters,” he said.

Technical and Vocational Training principal secretary, Dr Julius Jwan, said the strategic plan provides a roadmap for the KNQA to establish and manage the Kenya National Qualification Framework (KNQF) aimed at promoting globally recognized and competitive qualifications for sustainable development.

“The KNQF as an instrument for the development, classification and recognition of skills, knowledge and competencies along a continuum of agreed levels plays a critical role in regulating the Kenyan education and training system,” he said.

KNQA director general Dr Juma Mukhwana said operational processes will be reviewed continuously to provide any necessary strategic adjustment.

During the five years, the Authority intends to focus on various pillars including, Registration, Accreditation, and Documentation (RAD); Standards, Assessment and Quality Assurance (SAQA), Recognition, Equation, and Verification (REV), Planning, Research, Outreach, Strategy and Policy (PROSP) and Institutional Capacity Development (ICD)

The plan brings together the various priorities and strategic plans of the entire Education and Training Sector, together with the implementation and monitoring arrangements of its principal agencies such as Line Ministries, State Agencies, Regulators, Qualification Awarding Institutions, Examination and Assessment Bodies, Professional Bodies and Industry.

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