Untangling the Complex Training and Qualifications System in Kenya
A national qualification framework (NQF) is an instrument used to classify a country’s qualifications at different levels. Each level is defined by a set of learning outcomes expected at that level. NQFs are an extremely useful tool when carrying out educational and training reforms as they are vital reference points for lifelong learning and comparing qualifications across different levels in the same country and across borders with other countries. The Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) is an instrument that has been used to classify Kenya’s’ qualifications following enactment of the KNQF act in 2014. The Sessional Paper of 2005 and the Policy framework for education of 2012 highlighted the urgent need both to better coordinate and clarify Kenya’s qualification system. The current multiplicity of qualifications and awarding bodies (over 300) makes it difficult for employers to understand what competences they can expect the holder of a qualification to possess. The KNQF is intended to address this situation by establishing a common regulatory system for the development, assessment and award of qualifications. The KNQF is a central register of Institutions that have been accredited to award Qualifications, the qualifications that they award and the learners that are awarded the qualifications. The Framework sets out clear criteria for all qualifications and aims at developing and implementing a harmonized national accreditation, quality assurance, assessment and examination systems to ensure that qualifications awarded meet the national standard and are internationally benchmarked. The system is also used to develop and implement national policies on recognition and equation of local and foreign qualifications (REQs), recognition of prior learning (RPL) and a credible and reliable credit accumulations and transfer (CATs) system; in order to create an efficient and effective training and qualifications management system that meets the needs and requirements of local and international employers as well as industry. This paper enumerates the important role that qualification frameworks play and shares Kenya’s experience in developing and implementing the KNQF with lessons for Africa and the rest of the world.