Nairobi — The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) is working closely with the industry to address the paradox of skills mismatch in the country, acting Director General Alice Kande has said.
Speaking in Kisumu during an panel discussion on TVET with the theme Strengthening and sustaining linkages with the industry and TVET systems, Dr Kande said the government is keen to address the gap by developing and implementing a robust Recognition of Prior learning(RPL) system to ensure that skills and competencies relevant to the industry needs are recognized and certified.
The event, which attracted more than 70 participants, was organized by Humber College, Bondo Technical Institute and Sigalagala National polytechnic.
The Ministry of Education has already embarked on review of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy framework in order to align it to the new National Economic Agenda – the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).
The Presidential Working Party on Education Reform (PWPER), which released its report this month recommended the implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy and Credit Accumulation and Transfer Systems (CATS) in Kenya.
In a report presented to President William Ruto, the Prof Raphael Munavu led team also proposed need for more awareness creation on Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Accumulation and Transfer Systems.
“We recommend the development of a framework for linkages among TVETs to remove duplications and create centres of excellence based on niche,” reads the report that the President has directed its immediate implementation.
Dr Kande emphasized that KNQA will ensure the maintenance of standards, quality, and relevance at all levels of Kenya’s education and training sector.
“The Authority has established and maintains the Kenya National Qualifications framework(KNQF) that provides a system for the articulation, classification, registration, quality assurance, and monitoring and evaluation of national qualifications as developed in accordance with KNQF Act,” said Dr Kande.
She observed that the framework ensures seamless transition of TVET learners to labor markets/industry and provides for vertical and horizontal mobility of learners to facilitate access and progression within education & training.
“Through its involvement with TVET and the industry, the Authority ensures that fake credentials do not infiltrate the labor market ensuring that industries confidently recruit skilled professionals,” added Dr Kande.
Among its key functions, the Authority significantly coordinates the development of policies on national qualifications.
“The Authority is currently developing a policy on National Curriculum Development that will address the inconsistencies in the curriculum development process and implementation in Kenya, leading to uniformity in the development of curricula and training programs/courses by various actors resulting in nationally, regionally, and internationally recognized qualifications,” added Dr Kande.
She noted that the policy will be applied to effectively coordinate and harmonize the national curriculum development approach to produce quality skilled human resources with the right attitude and values required in the emerging trends in the industry and for the growth and prosperity of the various sectors of the economy.
Dr Kande added that collaboration between industry and academia can create a lively and receptive framework for offering advisory on market-driven courses.
“Industry experts possess real-world insights into the rapidly evolving market trends, skill demands, and emerging technologies. By actively engaging with academic institutions, these experts can provide valuable guidance on curriculum design, ensuring that courses align with the current and future needs of the job market,” said Dr Kande.
She went on: “With strong collaborations, the industry can provide real-world insights, expertise, and resources to enrich student’s learning experiences, ensuring their skills align with current market demands. In tandem with this, academia can contribute by tailoring curricula to meet industry needs, integrating theoretical knowledge with hands-on training.”
Dr Kande added that industry-sponsored internships, attachments and apprenticeships offer students opportunities to apply classroom learning in real work settings, enhancing their employability and soft skills.
“The collaboration between industry and academia can cultivate a mutual relationship that produces well-rounded graduates equipped with the skills and experiences required for successful careers in the ever-evolving job landscape,” said the acting Director General.
She added that collaboration between industry and academia is crucial for developing curricula that effectively align with the dynamic and evolving needs of the labor market.
“Both parties can bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for the labor market challenges. Industry input can provide valuable insights into emerging trends, technological advancements, and skill requirements, enabling educators to tailor curricula to equip students with relevant and up-to-date expertise,” added Dr Kande.