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Recognition of Prior Learning a blessing to Jua Kali Artisans

Kenyans with skills and competencies acquired through informal learning have been urged to seek certification through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme to improve their employability and mobility.

The programme which is being implemented by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) was rolled out to assess and certify candidate’s knowledge, skills and competencies acquired through informal learning.

KNQA Director General Dr. Juma Mukhwana said through the certification, beneficiaries were able to secure jobs within their respective disciplines and at the same time benefit from government tenders.

Dr. Mukhwana said the programme had generated a lot of interest across the country adding that through partnership with a number of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions more Kenyans were set to be certified.

“In July we conferred the first recognition of prior learning certificates to 62 graduates training with base titanium in Kwale County. By the end of this year we expect to issue certificates to over 500 Kenyans,” he said.

Speaking in Kisumu on Monday during a workshop for RPL assessors from Nyanza region, Dr. Mukhwana said through the programme, plumbers, tailors, mechanics, jua kali artisans among others were set to receive internationally recognized certificates to facilitate their mobility and career progression.

This, he said, was a departure from the past where workers in the sector which constitutes 80 per cent of the country’s workforce were looked down upon.

“A mason, for example, would carry a photo album to show potential clients some of the projects he has undertaken. This certification now puts them at par with their counterparts who went through formal training,” he said.

“They can even travel outside the country and use the certificates to get decent employment,” he added.

KNQA Director of Technical Services Stanley Maindi said the agency has partnered with the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations to ensure that the talent in the sector is tapped and certified.

The assessment, he said, was being done in local language for those who do not speak English to ensure that as many skilled Kenyans as possible benefit from the programme.

By Chris Mahandara

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