Mount Kenya University and Meru University of Science and Technology have become the first private and public universities, respectively, to be accredited by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA).
They are also the first to register their national qualifications in the authority’s framework.
The National Industrial Training Authority has also been accredited as a centre for enhancing skills by developing curricula and regulating industrial training. At the same time, Bandari Maritime Academy has been accredited as a centre of excellence for skills development for the blue economy.
Out of the total 728 accreditation certificates, NITA were awarded the most (416). Mount Kenya University received 198, while MUST and Bandari Academy received 92 and 22 certificates, respectively.
Speaking during a ceremony to award the certificates, KNQA chairperson Dr Kilemi Mwiria said the move will help rid the country of fake certificates.
“We are in the process of establishing the Kenya National Learners Record database and creating the Kenya Credit Accumulation and Transfer System,” he said.
Dr Mwiria remarked that the preparations being carried out by the authority are in line with its strategic plan of 2020-2025, in the context of Kenya National Development Agenda.
Among other plans is to establish the learning curve of learners and offer verification of their qualifications through the National Qualification Information Management System (NAQIMS), which was rolled out within the year.
“NAQIMS has automated the process of accreditation and registration of national qualifications countrywide. This will go a long way in providing analytics on qualification turnover, student dropout rates, completion rates, preferred qualifications, number of graduates and any other desired descriptive statistics required at any given time,” explained Dr Mwiria.
He explained that besides working to ensure that all qualifications awarded meet expectations of employers, the authority is working on new policies to support assessment of learners.
However, he said that some institutions are yet to register their national qualifications with the authority. This, he noted, reflects non-compliance with the law.
Education Chief Administrative Secretary, Hassan Noor Hassan, said that having a database of national qualifications of learners will go a long way in reducing cases of forged certificates.
Labour and Social Protection CS Simon Chelugui noted that rapid increase in demand for education and training without corresponding increase in infrastructural and structural skills undermines the quality of graduates supplied to the labour market.
Other factors, explained the CS, are the existence of fake certificates, possession of qualifications that do not match skills and poor documentation of awards.
“Accreditation will solve challenges that have caused confusion in the labour market, especially during hiring and determinations. These include availability of multiple certificates from multiple training institutions,” said Mr Chelugui.
He added that a specific training programme known by different names in different institutions also creates confusion.
“Majority of youth possess various qualifications. Without a framework of qualification, an employer would never know if the qualifications are genuine or not, hence disadvantaging the youth in employment,” said Chelugui.
“Training providers should never lose sight of the industry needs when designing training programmes. Poor matching between supply and demand of skills will have the youth losing out,” he concluded.
Early this year, the director of criminal investigations (DCI) announced a countrywide crackdown on fake certificate holders in formal jobs, saying that the practice denies Kenyans with genuine academic documents an opportunity to benefit from their hard work in school.
Politicians with fake academic papers from non-accredited learning institutions will not be able to secure clearance to vie in the 2022 General Election.
Aspiring Members of Parliament and members of county assembly will be required to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree before they are cleared to contest.