List of SAGAs in Ministry of Education in Kenya and their mandate

Semi-autonomous government agencies (SAGAs) are government entities established by law to perform a specific mandate. They operate under a certain degree of independence but still under the Ministry of Education. The level of autonomy and their roles depend on the legal and regulations that created the specific SAGA.

These semi-autonomous government agencies include regulatory bodies, public corporations, and research institutions among others. These entities help the government to operate more effectively with bodies that can move and make decisions faster than if the functions were given by the main ministry.

Examples of SAGAs in the Ministry of Education in Kenya are KNEC, KICD, KEMI, KISE, TVETA, TVETCDACC, CUE, CEMASTEA, SEPU, HELB, KUCCPS among others.

Semi-autonomous government agencies’ (SAGAs) characteristics

For any SAGA to operate within the Ministry of Education or any other ministry it should at least meet the following basic requirements or characteristics

Mission and Mandate

The agencies should be established to achieve a specific mission and mandate within the ministry’s main mission. This makes it have a very focused mandate for easy implementation and operation.


The SAGA should have some level of independence from the main ministry even if they are still accountable to the government. The level of independence of the agencies depends on the framework that established it.

Governance Structure

These agencies have their organizational structure that helps achieve their mandate. Those appointed to govern the agency should be professional depending on the role of the SAGA.

Financial independence

The SAGAs have financial independence where they have their own budgetary allocation. The funds may come from government allocation, fees from services they offer, or other sources. This financial independence allows them to plan and allocate the resources to their core mandate for effective execution.

Autonomy decision making

The agency has the power to make independent decisions within its scope of operation without main ministry involvement. This makes the operational decision to be made faster for implementation.

SAGAs in the Ministry of Education and their mandate in Kenya

Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD)

It was changed from KIE to KICD to align with the new constitution under the KICD Act of 2013. Its mandate is to establish curriculums to be used for basic education up to tertiary-level education. For more on the roles and functions of KICD in curriculum development.

Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI)

It is the successor of the Kenya Education Staff Institute (KESI). It gets its mandate and function from Legal Notice No.19/2010. KEMI is mandated to provide training, conduct research, and undertake consultancy services for education managers. This mostly deals with managers at the basic education level of education.

Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC)

Established under the KNEC Act of 2012 to align with the 2010 constitution. KNEC as a SAGA is mandated to offer assessment in basic education and tertiary institutions. It sets the exams and maintains the standards for those examinations then issues certification for the same. Here is a detailed article on the functions and types of exams offered by KNEC.

Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology in Africa (CEMASTEA)

Anchored on the Education Act of 2012 it is a successor of In-Service Education and Training (INSET). It is mandated to provide and coordinate In-Service Education and Training for practicing teachers of Mathematics and Science in Kenya. It helps to improve the uptake of STEM courses in secondary school by training teachers on the best method to implement the subject in school.

School Equipment Production Unit (SEPU)

SEPU is mandated to design, manufacture, supply, and distribute STEM materials and apparatus for educational institutions. The SAGA ensures accessibility and inclusivity in the distribution of STEM-related learning materials in Kenya.

Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE)

KISE was established under the Legal Notice No. 17 of 1986. It is mandated to capacity building to facilitate special needs people to access education and other services. It achieves this by carrying out research, data management rehabilitation production of assistive devices and other special need-friendly educational materials.

Technical Vocational and Education and Training Authority (TVETA)

Established under TVET Act No. 29 of 2013. It is a regulatory and quality check for the TVET sector. Its mandate is registering and accrediting both training institutions and trainers in the sector. Read here for full functions and services of TVET Authority.

Kenya National Qualifications Authority(KNQA)

The authority was established under KNQF Act No. 22 of 2014 and KNQF Regulations 2018. It is KNQA is mandated by the government to coordinate and harmonize qualifications from different levels. The framework that they create helps learners advance from one level of education to the next using the KNQF guidelines of upward progress.

TVET – Curriculum Development Assessment and Certification Council (TVETCDACC)

Established same time as the TVET Authority using TVET Act No.29 of 2013 but with a different mandate. Its main role is to carry out the development of curriculum, assessment, and certification in the TVET sector.

National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI)

It is the successor of the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) and was established under the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Act of 2013. It mostly collaborates with universities to regulate and assure quality in the science, technology, and innovation sectors.

Commission for University Education (CUE)

The commission is a regulatory body for universities just like TVETA is for TVET institutions. It is anchored on Universities Act No. 42 of 2012. The CUE mandate is to ensure quality university education by regulating and accrediting universities and programmes offered in all universities operating within Kenya.

Higher Education Loans Board (HELB)

The funding body was first established in 1995. The Act was amended to give it the current mandate using the HELB Act 2015. The HELB function is to provide sustainable finance to Kenyans pursuing Higher Education through the mobilization and management of resources. It offers educational loans and bursaries to students in universities and tertiary institutions.

University Funding Board (UFB)

Established by the Universities Act of 2012. The UF board is mandated to apportion funds to universities and mobilize and receive funds from the Government, donors, and other sources. It also establishes the maximum Differentiated unit Cost for the programmes offered and defines minimum remuneration for staff among other functions

Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS)

It is a placement body established by the Univesity Act of 2012. The KUCCPS function is to coordinate the placement of qualified students in higher institutions of learning. It also develops career-related data and advises students and the general public on the same.

National Research Fund (NRF)

The agency was established under the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Act of 2013 just like KENIA and NACOSTI. All the 3 bodies collaborate to ensure science, technology, and innovation in the county agenda is achieved. The mandate of NRF is to mobilize, allocate, and manage financial resources to facilitate an effective national innovation system in all fields of Science and Technology.

Kenya National Innovation Agency (KENIA)

The SAGA was established under the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Act of 2013. Its main mandate is to develop and manage national innovation systems. It collaborates with universities and other institutions to develop innovations in science and technology fields.

Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB)

Under the 2010 constitution, its mandate is under the Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB) No.12 of 2012. Its main function is publishing, printing, and distributing literary, educational, cultural, and scientific books, periodicals, journals, magazines digital and electronic materials to support Kenyan authours and other related publishing businesses.

Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF)

It was established to publish educational materials for all levels. However, currently, it also offers scholarships for learners in different levels and fields of study.