Diploma nurses eye level pay with degree holders on upgrade


Kenya Medical Training College students during a past graduation ceremony in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) has revived a push to have nurses graduating from the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) with a higher diploma receive the same pay as degree holders from various universities.

The KNQA said they have talked to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to have higher diploma nurses paid as much as degree holders.

To qualify for this status, the State agency said the higher diploma must be of two years or more and in the same line as what was studied in the ordinary diploma.

“We have already talked with PSC and presented our framework to them for review,” said Dr Juma Mukhwana, director-general and chief executive of the KNQA.

“According to the framework, if one has an ordinary diploma and studies for two years for the higher diploma, then that qualification you get is equivalent to Level 7, which is the same as a degree.”

Last week, the Kenya Medical Training College announced on social media that its higher national diploma has now been upgraded by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority to a degree status.

The KMTC said its higher national diploma qualifications now fall in the KNQA Level 7, which makes them equivalent to the bachelor’s degree, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) III, Certified Public Secretary (CPS) or Master Craft Person I.

The CEO, however, cautioned that they do not offer degree courses but diplomas, higher national diplomas and short courses.

“What we have done with KNQA support is give them what our students go through for diploma and higher diploma in terms of course work and if you look at the number of hours you will find they do the same if not more,” said Dr Kelly Oluoch, chief executive at KMTC.

He said the accreditation provided the institution with the assurance that their programmes were recognised worldwide, which enhances the employability of KMTC graduates.

“By the time these people complete higher diploma training, their qualification is comparable to someone with a degree in nursing or radiotherapy,” said Dr Oluoch.

KMTC board chairperson Zachary Muburi-Muita said: “It gives me pleasure to note that now our graduates are linked to training and career opportunities globally since their qualifications are aligned and verifiable to potential employers as well as higher education institutions.”

The accreditation offers nurses and other professionals international recognition in their craft.

Mr Seth Panyako, the secretary general of the Kenya National Union of Nurses could not comment on the matter.

Dr Mukhwana said the upgrade would promote inclusivity among the majority of learners who do not score high grades in national examinations to go straight to the universities.

Last year, some 15,547 candidates who scored C+ and above in the 2020 KCSE examination snubbed universities while some opted for diploma and certificate courses such as plumbing in technical institutions.

“A big margin of high school graduates (over 80 percent) does not transition to universities and these are the people we empower by promoting lifelong learning,” said Dr Juma.

The number of candidates who scored grade E in the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination nearly doubled this year.

The Ministry of Education data shows that 46,151 candidates scored grade E in the examination compared to 28,046 the previous year and 35,536 in 2017.

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