The Kenyan universities are undergoing significant changes, aiming to reshape degree programs to align with industry demands. The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) has directed institutions to revamp curricula in sync with competencies outlined in the national qualifications’ framework.
The Acting Director General of KNQA, Dr. Alice Kande, emphasizes the primary goal: ensuring graduates possess skills and knowledge actively sought by employers.
Dr. Kande stresses integrating practical, hands-on experiences into academic programs, including internships, research projects, and industry collaborations. This, she says, empowers students to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios. Universities are urged to develop industry-specific competency-based education programs, equipping graduates with practical skills according to a report by People Daily.
“Universities can develop competency-based education programs tailored to the needs of specific industries or professions. These programs should be structured around identified competencies, ensuring that graduates are well-equipped with practical skills,” Dr. Kande said.
Addressing a workshop on teacher education program curricula, Dr. Kande highlights the dynamic intersection between the Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) and Competency-Based Education (CBT).
Both aim to ensure individuals have necessary skills for workforce success, covering skills standardization, curriculum development, outcome-centric education, quality assurance, assessment methods, credentialing, certification, flexibility, lifelong learning, and industry collaboration for workforce development.
The KNQF standardizes qualifications, defining learning outcomes and competencies for each level. Simultaneously, CBT emphasizes imparting specific skills to individuals, moving away from a sole focus on course completion or credit hours.
Dr. Kande urges adaptive teaching methods, prioritizing competency development through active learning, practical application, project-based learning, and internships. She recommends faculty professional development for effective competency-based teaching.
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As o June 2023, employment data indicated that Kenya’s unemployment rate stood at 4.9% in October-December 2022, a slight drop from 5.6% in Q4 2021. The active labor force, around 19,398,165 people, saw a commendable reduction in unemployed Kenyans to 960,001 from 1,055,816 in Q4 2021. These changes align with Kenya’s vision to reshape education, producing a skilled, employable workforce for a positive shift in the country’s employment landscape.