KNQA functions, services, levels, and registration

The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) was established under Act No. 22 of 2014 (KENYA NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK) and KNQF Regulations 2018. The Authority is mandated to coordinate and harmonize various qualification levels in different education sectors.

KNQA authority formulated a Kenya National Qualification Framework which outlines the structure of education levels in Kenya, entry requirements, and learning hours requirement per each level and career progression pathway.

The 2 main progression pathways can lead to a doctorate or professional master craft person.

KNQA Authority functions under Act No. 22 of 2014

The functions of the Authority shall be to

  1. Coordinate and supervise the development of policies on national qualifications.
  2. Develop a framework for the development of an accreditation system on qualifications.
  3. Develop a system for the assessment of national qualifications.
  4. Develop and review interrelationships and linkages across national qualifications in consultation with stakeholders, relevant institutions, and agencies
  5. Maintain a national database of national qualifications
  6. Publish manuals, codes, and guidelines on national qualifications
  7. Advise and support any person, body, or institution which is responsible for the award of national qualifications
  8. Publish an annual report on the status of national qualifications.
  9. Set standards and benchmarks for qualifications and competencies including skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values
  10. Define the levels of qualifications and competencies.
  11. Provide for the recognition of attainment or competencies including skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values.
  12. Facilitate linkages, credit transfers and exemptions, and vertical and horizontal mobility at all levels to enable entry, re-entry, and exit.
  13. Conduct research on the equalization of qualifications.
  14. Establish standards for harmonization and recognition of national and foreign qualifications.
  15. Build confidence in the national qualifications system that contributes to the national economy.
  16. Provide pathways that support the development and maintenance of flexible access to qualifications.
  17. Promote the recognition of national qualifications internationally.
  18. Perform such other functions as may be provided under this Act.

Service offered by KNQA

The authority consolidates all its functions to have 5 main services that are aligned with its mandate. These services are offered at a fee. Confirm the service fee requirement by KNQA on their website

Accreditation of qualification-awarding institutions

All learning institutions that offer internal qualifications and certification should be registered and accredited by KNQA. The institute that should be accredited can be grouped into Universities and TVET institution that offers their qualification i.e. National Polytechnics.

  1. Professional bodies ie KASNEB
  2. Local Examination bodies i.e KNEC
  3. External quality assurance agencies i.e TVETA, CUE
  4. Any other body that intends or offers qualification within Kenya’s boundaries.

Registration of professional, local, and foreign qualifications

All qualifications that are awarded in all qualification-awarding institutions should be registered by the authority

The registration involves:

  1. Registration of professional qualifications.
  2. Registration of local qualifications
  3. Equation of foreign acquired qualification to KNQF structure

Credit Accumulation &Transfer

Students can require credit transfer from one qualification to another through the authority. This also can be credit transfer from one institution to another.

Recognizing Prior Learning (RPL)

This is where those who have acquired knowledge and skills in the informal sector can be qualified and be integrated into formal education. The authority ensures the RPL program is conducted as per the standard and their qualification recognized in the industry. This process is carried out in collaboration with learning and qualification awarding institutions.

Alignment of Qualifications awarded by foreign learning professional institutions

The KNQA authority align and validate all foreign qualifications offered by foreign universities and learning institution. It also validates external qualifications offered by foreign professional bodies.

Kenya National Qualifications Framework Levels

The framework outlines and classifies all qualification levels offered in the Kenyan curriculum into 10 levels


Primary Certificate)/Basic Skills/Skills for Life.

This is the basic level where the qualification is just a birth certificate as an entry requirement. After graduating at this level the learner is expected to have the skills to carry out basic everyday life activities.


Secondary Certificate/ National Skills Certificate III /Government Trade Test III /National Vocational Certificate I /Pre-Vocational

Entry level requirement is a Level 1 qualification of 6 years in primary school.


National Skills Certificate II (NSC-II)/Government Trade Test II (GTT- II)/National Vocational Certificate II (NVC- II)


Artisan Certificate/National Vocational Certificate III (NVC-II)/National Skills Certificate I (NSC-I)/Government Trade Test I (GTT-I)


National Craft Certificate/National Vocational Certificate IV (NVTC IV)/Master Craft Person III


National Diploma/Master Craft Person II/Professional Diploma


Bachelor’s Degree/Management Professional/Master Craft Person I


Postgraduate Diploma/Professional Bachelors Degree/ Professional Master Craft Person


Master’s Degree


Doctorate Degree

This is the highest level of qualification