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Policy to unlock opportunities in the informal sector

The government has set in motion the process of recognising skills gained informally to enable thousands of Kenyans in the informal sector to access jobs and opportunities.

Through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy framework, Kenyans with skills from any sector shall be assessed and certified to enable them to advance their education and compete for job opportunities with their counterparts who have gone through formal education.

The initiative spearheaded by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) targets unlocking the potential of the informal sector, which employs about 15 million people.

KNQA Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Alice Kanda, said the agency has already developed the policy framework, which is set to be launched on October 6, 2023.

Dr. Kanda said KNQA has tested the practicability of the framework, with over 600 candidates assessed and certified.

The policy, she said, provides for identification, assessment, and certification of skills, attitudes, and competencies regardless of how, when, and where learning occurred.

This, she added, was set to open an avenue for people who, hitherto, could not advance their studies or apply for jobs and opportunities in the formal sector.

“This is a hallmark for this country. It will provide an opportunity for people who, for the longest time, could not take up opportunities because they lacked papers,” he said.

“The certificates we issue shall help them to progress their education upwards or horizontally and have equal access to opportunities with the others who have gained similar skills through formal education,” she added.

KNQA, she said, has embarked on stakeholder sensitization of the programme to ensure that all the players involved have the right information ahead of the national launch.

Speaking during a Young Africa Works-Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) initiative conference in Kisumu, Dr. Kanda underscored the importance of the RPL, urging all the involved agencies to step up and make it a success.

The conference organised by Humber College, Canada, brought together various TVET trainers to review the progress of RPL in TVET institutions.

The Young Africa Works-Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) initiative is the first project of its kind in Kenya, targeting to support the government in achieving full RPL implementation across 25 TVET institutions and centres of excellence.

Humber College Dean of International Studies Andrew Ness said RPL was set to put Kenya on the map of industrialised countries in the world.

“What we have seen over the last two weeks is an incredible team of young, smart, and committed faculty members. We see a lot of potential,” he said.

By Chris Mahandara

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