Jua Kali artisans set to earn degrees

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 00:00 | By
Cabinet has approved credit guarantee scheme for small businesses. Photo/PD/File

Jua Kali artisans will now be able to earn university degrees and college diplomas based on their various skills and competencies.

The good news comes after a government developed guideline to recognise informal skills gained over time which will see skilled labour who do not have formal academic papers will now be assessed and issued with certificates.

The new initiative, dubbed Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a method of assessment where learners can gain recognition for knowledge, understanding, skills and competencies they already possess.

The certificates will act as validation for entry to any programme of study or for even seeking international jobs.

Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) Director General Dr Juma Mukhwana said the institution has now developed rules and regulations that allow recognized examination bodies in the country to conduct recognition of prior learning.

“That certificate will be treated like any other – like that of Kenya National Examination Council or university certificate – and candidates can also use it to look for jobs outside the country or even to proceed study,” Mukhwana, who spoke from his office in Nairobi yesterday said.

“The world over, it is now recognised that learning does not only take place in classroom alone,” he added.

Actualising RPL is part of the tasks the new KNQA board will be expected to undertake as it commences its term.

The new board which is set to be inaugurated today, will be chaired by Dr Kilemi Mwiria for a term of three years.

The new members of the board appointed by Education CS Prof George Magoha are Hirji Shah, Stephen Ogenga, Isaiah Odiwuor Ochelle, Rosemary Njogu, Isaac Wamute Gathirwa, Kipkurui Langat, Gwiyo Komora and Damaris Wanjiku Muhika.

Before a certificate can be issued, Mukhwana said those taking part will first be mentored on what qualification to seek, based on their competencies.

 “Once you are given a Level Three certificate, even if you have never been to a secondary school it allows you to progress … if the next level is university it will allow you to be admitted and nobody will ask you for your KCPE or KCSE certificates,” he said.

He said the assessment will be in accordance with standards KNQA has set, where the participant will either pass to be awarded that qualification or they will be advised whether to practise more.

The DG explained that the assessment will be based on a standard and if experts feel like it is too high for a candidate, they will guide them on which level to start with, after which they will issue a certificate of competence.

He said the move is guided by the fact that those in the informal sector have been a forgotten lot yet their contribution to the country’s economy has been enormous over time. 

“We need to recognise the skills possessed by those in the informal sector, we have ignored their skills for long yet over 80 per cent of our business is informal,” said the DG.

Guidelines for implementing RPL in Kenya states that evidence will be required for an assessment to take place.

To this end, there will be an interview undertaken, observation and questioning including workplace visits, portfolio of work, which may include completed assessment items from previous study and uploading photos of their product onto RPL online system.

“The evidence will fall within four years from the date of request of RPL,” the guidelines provide.

Seeking recognition

It will cost the candidate at least Sh10,000 for the entire process, though Mukhwana said that this will be conclusively agreed upon at a later date.

“The cost of RPL is based on the needs of the candidate and the number of units of competence for which they are seeking recognition.

As such, the cost will vary from application to application,” the guidelines provide.

The Qualification Awarding Institution (QAI) in conjunction with stakeholders are to develop a differentiated unit cost of assessment to inform the total cost payable for an RPL application and advise the candidate before proceeding with the process.

The guidelines provide that the assessor will screen the application and evidence to ascertain suitability of the candidate for the applied occupation or modules.

The candidate will then be notified whether they are admitted or not to the RPL process.

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