Varsities urged to align courses to national qualification framework - Breaking Kenya News

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Varsities urged to align courses to national qualification framework

 

Universities have been required to design degree programmes that align with competencies provided in the national qualifications framework.

Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) Acting Director General Dr Alice Kande said this would ensure that graduates possess the skills and knowledge required by employers in their respective fields.

Kande says that there is also need to incorporate practical, hands-on learning experiences into the curricula, which can include internships, research projects, and collaborative ventures with industries, allowing students to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world situations.

 “Universities can develop competency based education programmes tailored to the needs of specific industries or professions. These programmes should be structured around identified competencies, ensuring that graduates are well-equipped with practical skills,” she says.

Guidelines for review

Dr Kande made the remarks in a presentation themed ‘the Nexus between Kenya National qualifications Framework (KNQF) and Competency Based  Education in Universities’ during a workshop to develop guidelines for review of curricula for teacher education programmes.

According to Kande, the nexus between KNQF and Competency Based Training (CBT) lies in their shared goal of ensuring that individuals possess the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the workforce, which includes standardisation of skills, curriculum development, focus on outcomes, quality assurance, assessment, credentialing  and  certification, flexibility and  lifelong learning, teaching and  learning methods, employability and  workforce development and collaboration with the industry.

She noted that the national qualifications framework provides a standardised way to understand and compare qualifications in the country.

The framework also defines learning outcomes and competencies associated with each qualification level while competency based training focuses on imparting specific skills and competencies to individuals rather than solely on the completion of courses or accumulation of credit hours.

“These competencies align with the descriptions outlined in the national qualification framework, ensuring that training programmes directly address the skills identified in the framework,” said Kande.

She urged universities to adapt their teaching and learning methods to emphasise the development of competencies, which may involve active learning, practical application, project-based learning, and internships, providing students with hands-on experiences. “Universities can provide professional development opportunities for faculty to effectively teach in a competency-based model and ensure that educators understand the principles of competency based education and can create engaging, competency-focused learning experiences for students,” she explains.

Institutions of higher learning have been challenged to hasten their steps and adapt to the new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).

Next year, the first CBC class will be progressing to Grade Eight and are expected to join institutions of higher learning in 2029.

KNQA was set up to coordinate and harmonise the various levels of education and training and to create a national database of all qualifications in the country.

It is tasked with establishing  a common regulatory system for the recognition of attainment of knowledge, skills, competences, values and attitudes.

Qualification system

Some of the key issues addressed by the framework, include non-recognition of other forms of learning, skills’ mismatch, fragmented qualifications system, deteriorating quality of qualifications, fraudulent qualifications, need for a  transparent, equitable  qualifications system and unclear progression  pathways.

Dr Kande says the Authority is determined to ensure fully implementation of the  National Qualifications Framework.

“As an Authority, we have a critical role to ensure that qualifications awarded by various institutions in the country from basic to tertiary to university are credible, authentic and are of high quality in order to allow Kenyans to compete effectively with other in the World job market,” says Dr Kande.

 The KNQA has a supervisory role on all qualifications that are awarded in the country. Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) Act no.22 of 2014 mandates KNQA to co-ordinate and supervise development of policies on national qualifications and provide for the recognition of attainment or competencies, including skills, knowledge, attitudes  and  values.

The Act further mandates KNQA to develop a system of competence, life-long learning and attainment of national qualifications as well facilitate linkages, credit transfers and exemptions and a vertical and horizontal mobility at all levels to enable entry, re-entry and exit coordinate and promote the recognition of national qualifications internationally.

Exchange best practices

Kenya has underscored the need for Africa countries to develop their own Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs), which represent a pivotal step towards advancing education, fostering regional collaboration, and enhancing the global competitiveness of African nations.

“Experiences of countries, such as Kenya, South Africa and others which have embarked on this journey, provide valuable lessons and insights for others in the region. We have a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue, exchange best practices, and address the challenges that lie ahead in our collective pursuit towards achieving transparency of qualifications and mutual trust between qualifications frameworks for lifelong learning in Africa,“ Dr Kande previously said.

She says changing rapid technological advancements, shifting economic paradigms and relentless march of globalization demands countries to adapt to evolving continuously, for pursuit of knowledge and honing of skills as compass by which countries navigate the uncharted waters of ever-evolving world.

Africa is also expected to consider issues, such as educational reforms, quality assurance, harmonization and mutual recognition of qualifications, mobility of learners, response to labor market trends, inclusivity and technological evolutions.

“We can create qualification frameworks that will empower our learners, strengthen our economies and contribute to the overall well-being of our societies,” she says.

BY IRENE GITHINJI

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