Universities will now continue to offer diploma and certificate courses after stakeholders resolved the impasse surrounding the programmes.
The stakeholders have agreed to operate within a framework where the Technical and Vocational Training Authority (TVETA) will implement the standards set by the National Qualification Framework Authority (NQFA).
In a meeting held on Monday, the parties established that chattered universities, according to the University Amendment Act of 2014, are allowed to offer diploma and certificate courses.
The stakeholders, therefore, agreed that those courses will be regulated by TVETA, while degree courses will be under the authority of the Commission for University Education (CUE).
According to an official, who wished to remain anonymous because he is not authorised to issue press statements, the NQFA is set to come up with standards that will apply to all diploma and certificate courses offered in Kenya.
“It was decided that the content taught, the duration of the courses and the hours involved will be similar in all the institutions across the country to ensure regularity in the courses offered,” he said.
He added that foreign institutions that offer diploma and certificate courses in Kenya will also be required to comply with the TVETA regulations.
“Many were opting for these courses, which took one year or less to complete, and privileged the institutions offering them over those that offered similar courses but took longer.”
National Association of Private Universities in Kenya (NAPUK) secretary-general Vincent Gaithu supported the development and pointed out that universities have always had the right to offer diploma and certificate programmes.
In late August, KNQA threatened to declare all diplomas and certificates issued by public and private universities in Kenya illegal and invalid.
The authority said the diplomas and certificates offered by universities could not be recognised and registered under the Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) and must be approved by TVETA first.
KNQA director-general Juma Mukhwana then had maintained that for an institution or qualification to be registered in the KNQF, it must be accredited by a recognised quality assurance body.
“Most of the universities have been offering diplomas and certificates without bothering to accredit them with TVETA and CUE while most of their certificates and diplomas also did not meet the minimum standards set by KNQA, which included two years of full-time study.” Dr Mukhwana said.