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Petitioner allowed to challenge agency’s role in verifying academic papers

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Petitioner allowed to challenge agency’s role in verifying academic papers


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Summary

  • The High Court has allowed a Nairobi resident to challenge powers granted to Kenya National Qualification Authority (KNQA).
  • In the petition, George Bala says KNQA has no such powers and the 2018 Regulations made by Education CS are unconstitutional.

The High Court has allowed a Nairobi resident to challenge powers granted to Kenya National Qualification Authority (KNQA) to recognise and verify national and foreign academic qualifications.

In the petition, George Bala says KNQA has no such powers and the 2018 Regulations made by Education CS are unconstitutional.

Mr Bala argues that some of the powers taken over by KNQA are vested on the Commission for University Education (CUE) and Technical and Vocational Education Training Authority, depending on the certificate in issue.

Justice Anthony Ndung’u gave Mr Bala the nod to seek orders quashing Part III of the Kenya National Qualifications Framework Regulations, 2018.

“Upon perusal of the instant application and for reasons stated thereon, I am satisfied that the order for leave sought is merited,” the judge said.

Mr Bala notes that on January 17, the authority made it clear that KNQA will verify national and foreign academic qualifications being the custodian of Kenyan qualifications.

He stated that the authority had started verifying qualifications for employers, training institutions and other stakeholders to weed out state officials who used fake academic papers to secure jobs and promotion.

The authority further announced collaboration with Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vet academic certificates submitted by candidates seeking elective positions ahead of next year’s polls.

“Kenya is at a critical time where persons seeking elective positions are seeking clearance through recognition, equation, verification and approval of local and foreign academic qualifications and it is in the public interest that there be no usurpation of power,” Mr Bala says.

Other than quashing the regulations, Mr Bala wants KNQA to pull down from its website any reference to services related to recognition, verification or approval of national and foreign academic qualifications.

Justice Ndung’u directed Mr Bala’s advocate Meshack Odera to file the main case within 31 days. The case will be mentioned on November 16 for directions.

“The said decision of the 2nd Respondent (KNQA) to purport to recognise, equate, verify and approve national and foreign academic qualifications suffers from the heavy burden of unconstitutionality, illegality, procedural impropriety and executive impunity and requires to be stayed and determined by this Court,” submits Mr Bala.

Parliament, he says under Section 29 of the Kenya National Qualifications Framework Act, empowered Education Ministry to make Regulations.

According to Mr Bala, the Education CS cannot make regulations that are inconsistent with the provisions of the enabling statute, in this case, the Kenya National Qualifications Framework Act.

Mr Bala argues the Regulations are null and void to the extent that they are inconsistent with the enabling statute.



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