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Embracing Recognition of Prior Learning in Kenya

Dr. Alice Kande, is the Acting Director General of the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA).

Education and training in Kenya has for a long time been capped against grades but there is a wider stretch that can be covered outside the classroom environment.

This is where we introduce and acknowledge the contributions made by informal and non-formal learning experiences and the fact that education systems need to embrace the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

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RPL will grow tremendously based on the Education Reforms within the Kenyan Qualifications landscape, with changes being implemented through various sectors.

Through this, the government is trying to key in RPL by engaging individuals without classroom learning experience to meet learning outcomes that are far beyond just reading and basic examination.

The Kenyan education and training system is therefore on a growth trajectory that seeks to ensure wholesome learning experiences are achieved to improve the competency of the learners through inculcating the practicability aspect.

The anticipated transformation through RPL will cause a ripple effect on the labor and skills uptake since most job seekers will have recognizable skills and knowledge through a harmonized qualifications system.

This will translate the growth in the employability status among job seekers and employers will be thorough in ensuring that they are looking for job seekers with the right competencies and skills. The government taking a greater step to ensure that RPL is a success will mean that the levels of social inclusion among the populace will rise and more job seekers will be confident to make job applications and improve their social status.

With the Kenyan government trying to ensure that RPL is achievable, the Kenyan economy will be on a growth trajectory as job competitiveness will be witnessed. Kenya, therefore, needs to step up the quality assurance standards within the qualifications network through benchmarking with global successful organizations.

This will ensure a quality assured qualifications system that embraces the different informal learning experiences acquired by learners and enables them to stand a chance of being productive within the economy. Through embracing RPL, there is hope to close in on the gap difference between the demand and supply of necessary skills and competencies within the job market. With the country being on a growth portfolio to achieve the Vision 2030 goals, Bottoms Up transformational agenda (BETA) and other development priorities, human capital development will remain a vital resource to fuel the economy and this will be achieved through accelerated integration of experiential learning.

The Authority is mandated to promote lifelong learning and recognise the acquisition of skills obtained through different methods; formally, non informally and informally as it 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.

Therefore, 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, recognised, 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 will 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.

It also 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.

By Dr. Alice Kande, PhD is Ag. Director General Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA)

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