Roll-out of recognition prior learning(RPL), first graduation set for early October

TVET PS Dr Esther Muoria addresses participants at a past function: /Photo Courtesy

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The government has assured Kenyans that the roll-out of recognition prior learning (RPL) and first graduation ceremony set for early October is on course.

Speaking at Jogoo House, when she received a brief on review of RPL policy from a Technical Committee set up by the Ministry of Education, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Principal Secretary Dr. Esther Muoria said the policy will incorporate more inputs from all stakeholders before its roll-out which she said is vital.

“I appreciate the progress made by the Committee reviewing the implementation guidelines and Policy Framework on Recognition of Prior Learning steered by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) acting Director General Dr. Alice Kande, “said Dr. Muoria.

The multi-sectoral committee has experts from International Labour Organization(ILO), Federation of Kenya Employers( FKE), Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations,  Council of Governors, Ministry of Education , NITA,  and TVET CDACC among others and it is reviewing the policy that was developed by KNQA in 2021.

“The Policy and guidelines will provide standards of assessing and certifying the skills and competencies acquired through experience.

This will enable our skilled, but unfortified youths to be awarded certificates based on individual competencies expanding their opportunities in employment and advanced learning,” said PS Dr. Muoria.

On her part, KNQA acting Director General Dr. Alice Kande, thanked the technical Committee for the tireless commitment to the task stating 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.”

The Authority is set to Launch the RPL Policy and graduate the first RPL Cohort on 6th of October 2023.

The Presidential Working Party on Education Reform (PWPER) has since 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 team also wants 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 centers of excellence based on niche,” reads the report that the President has directed its immediate implementation.

In 2021, during Madaraka day celebrations in Kisumu county, former President Uhuru Kenyatta announce that the government was keen to give every Kenyan, an opportunity to participate in economic development noting that the move was to address the inequity in tendering for contracts by jua kali artisans and craftsmen, due to their lack of certification and to secure opportunities for them.

Last month, Education Cabinet Secretary for Education Mr. Ezekiel Machogu appointed the team to review RPL framework as well as organize the first graduation of RPL learners.

The move is to provide a framework for recognition of skills through award of certificates, based on competence to better enable them participate in various economic opportunities.

“Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) has been adopted as a redress mechanism for the past inequalities, facilitating improved employability, mobility, progression and access within education, training and development career paths,” said Dr. Kande.

Internationally RPL is used as a tool for lifelong learning through provision of access to higher education, Award credit towards a qualification, Admissions into formal institutions of Learning, advanced standing and credit accumulation and transfer, RPL for credit transfer or harmonization (national and foreign credits), RPL for recognition of experiential learning, RPL for upgrading of skills or qualifications and regulatory requirements of some sectors in terms of employing qualified persons.

The KNQF Act Section 8(1) (k) mandates the  authority to promote lifelong learning and recognize the acquisition of skills obtained through different methods; formally, non-informally and informally.

The Authority recognizes that not all skills are acquired in classroom setting.

There are mechanics, technicians, plumbers, and tailors with excellent skills they have acquired in the course of their work.

These skills, although contributing immensely to our socio-economic development, are mostly undocumented, unappreciated and remain neglected.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), is the process used to identify, assess and certify an individual’s knowledge, skills and competencies against prescribed standards or learning outcomes regardless of when, where and how they were acquired.

Outcomes of prior learning in all contexts of life can be validated, recognized, certified to give people wings to new perspectives and opportunities in education and training, employment, entrepreneurship and better jobs.

RPL is also part of the response to the current refugee crisis through identification, documentation, assessment and certification of migrants’ previous experiences, to support quicker and smoother integration into host countries.

The Policy on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) seeks to bring into the national database numerous skills, knowledge and competencies that are currently contributing to national development but have not been well understood, articulated, documented, recognized, assessed and certificated.

The policy aims at developing and implementing a more flexible, efficient learner journey in recognition that not all learning takes place in formal classes and formal laboratories/workshops.

The Government of Kenya is implementing the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) that is geared towards economic turnaround and inclusive growth.

The main objective is to improve the livelihoods and welfare of Kenyans.

In line with this, the Government will implement policies and structural reforms and promote investment in five pillars that are expected to have the highest impact at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

These are Agricultural Transformation and Inclusive Growth transforming the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) Economy, Housing and Settlement, Healthcare, and Digital Superhighway and Creative Economy.

To actualize the five (5) Pillars, the Government is implementing strategic interventions under the following key enablers, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Blue Economy, the Services Economy, Environment and Climate Change, Education and Training, Women Agenda, Youth Empowerment and Development Agenda, Social Protection, Sports, Culture and Arts, and Good Governance.

By Our Reporter

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