Kenya’s National Qualifications Authority plans to certify over 500,000 young people in the informal sector under the pre-learning program over the next five years, as it prepares to formalize the practical skills acquired over the years of experience.
The program aims to make formal employment accessible to people who have acquired knowledge and skills through informal study or experiential means.
The Economic Survey 2022 shows that the informal sector employs over 15 million Kenyans with skills in handicrafts like jua kali, welding, plumbing, electrical and masonry among others but are uncertified .
Speaking at a workshop of construction industry stakeholders, Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) Chief Executive Juma Mukwama stressed the need to mainstream RPL policy in all institutions in the country .
“In the next five years, we are aiming for 300,000 to 500,000 certified young people. We already have young people with the skills, we have built the capacity of institutions and all we need is a joint effort, especially with the construction sector,” said Mr. Mukwama, Director general of the KNQA.
The ministry has partnered with examination bodies, assessors, TVET institutions and quality assurance personnel to roll out the RPL policy in all 47 counties.
The RPL policy put in place in 2020 targets people in the informal and formal sectors, young people with no schooling, people who have never been to school, educated people, asylum seekers and retirees. It aims to fill the skills gap in the market by promoting access and employability for marginalized groups in the country.
“We work closely with NCA to ensure that those who have acquired skills on the job can have them assessed and recognized through certification,” said Ms. Jane Muigai, Founder of Toolkit iskills.
Toolkit iskills Limited focuses on the construction and renewable energy sectors and is among the players pushing for RPL.
RPL is the process used to identify, assess and certify a candidate’s knowledge, skills and competencies acquired through non-formal or informal learning, such as work or life experiences, against standards or prescribed learning outcomes.