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Consultancy for Development of Recognition of Prior Learning Information Management System for the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA)

Closing date:

INTRODUCTION

The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) is established under the Kenya National Qualifications Framework Act No. 22 of 2014. The mandate of the Authority is to establish, maintain the Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF). This inter alia involves to establish standards for recognizing qualifications obtained within and outside Kenya; develop a system of competence, lifelong learning and attainment of national qualifications; align qualifications obtained in Kenya with global benchmarks in order to promote national and trans-national mobility of workers; strengthen the national quality assurance systems for national qualifications; and facilitate mobility and progression within education and training.

One of the guiding principles of the Kenya National Qualification Framework (KNQF) is to promote quality and relevance of Qualifications, evidence based competence and life-long learning. In line with this, the KNQA has developed a national policy on recognition of prior learning (RPL). The policy is being domesticated and customized by the various regulators into the Basic, TVET, Industry and University sectors. The policy opens new doors for more flexible learning pathways; and emphasizes acquisition of skills, knowledge and competencies to take Kenya to the next level. KNQA is in the process of automating its services. This has proved to be efficient and effective when it comes to service delivery. The ICT and PROP Departments would like to propose the design, development, deployment, and maintenance of an effective, fully functional and interactive Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) portal for ​KNQA.

Functions of the Authority Scope

The main functions of the KNQA as enshrined in KNQF Act no. 22 of 2014 is to co-ordinate and harmonize education and training in Kenya;

The specific functions include:

  • Develop A Framework for The Development of an Accreditation System on Qualifications;
  • Develop A System for Assessment of National Qualifications;
  • Develop and Review Inter-relationships and Linkages Across National Qualifications in Consultation with Stakeholders, Relevant Institutions and Agencies;
  • Maintain A National Database of National Qualifications;
  • Publish Manuals, Codes and Guidelines on National Qualifications;
  • Advise and Support Any Person, Body or Institution Which Is Responsible for The Award of National Qualifications;
  •  Publish an Annual Report on The Status of National Qualifications;
  • Set Standards and Benchmarks for Qualifications and Competencies Including Skills, Knowledge, Attitudes and Values;
  • Define the Levels of Qualifications and Competencies;
  • Provide for The Recognition of Attainment of Competencies Including Skills, Knowledge, Attitudes and Values;
  • Facilitate Linkages, Credit Transfers and Exemptions and A Vertical and Horizontal Mobility at all Levels to Enable Entry, Re-Entry and Exit;
  • Conduct Research on Equalization of Qualifications;
  •  Establish Standards for Harmonization and Recognition of National and Foreign Qualifications;
  • Build Confidence in the National Qualifications System that Contributes to the National Economy;
  • Provide Pathways that Support the Development and Maintenance of Flexible Access to Qualifications;
  • Promote the Recognition of National Qualifications Internationally.
  • The departments ​ will make use of meaningful technologies, graphic materials, color scheme, font types and content layout so that the proposed portal will be visually appealing, polished, professional, usable and highly scalable. We propose to develop the said portal on a robust and flexible API driven system that allows for intuitive content publishing, management and integration with other identified systems. The portal will be search engine friendly and optimized for better performance.

RPL Support under “PROSPECTS” Partnership

The PROSPECTS partnership is a collaboration of the ILO, UNICEF, UNHCR, IFC and the World Bank, with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Netherlands, which aims to complement humanitarian assistance with a development approach focusing on the nexuses between education (including skills development and training), protection and employment. This is significant given the displacement trends with UNHCR projecting that Kenya is likely to continue to be amongst the top refugee hosting countries in Africa. **

Under the partnership, the ILO intends to increase the number of refugees and host communities’ members with quality education and skills training and help transform the way governments and other stakeholders including the private sector, respond to forced displacement. The ILO interventions will serve to make refugees and members of the host communities more attractive in the labour market, by ensuring that they have skills that are in demand, and that these skills are recognised and certified. By so doing, the project will mitigate their plight during years of exile and best prepare them for their return through socio-economic inclusion and strengthen the resilience of host communities through inclusive socio-economic development.**

Among the key intervention areas identified by KNQA and other stakeholders during ILO consultations, is the need for support towards digitization of RPL system (RPL IMS). Currently, RPL in Kenya done manually hence lack of properly documented data and information on RPL in terms of number of applicants who have been certified, number of trades available for RPL and the qualifications, number of assessors and the current actors in RPL. Such information can only be made available through the IMS, which will ensure KNQA has such data available to the Authority for planning and to the public on needs basis.

Objectives of the Consultancy

The objectives of this assignment is to design, develop and test a Recognition of Prior Learning Information Management System (RPLIMS) for Kenya. The consultant will also train champions for the system (KNQA Staff) for piloting the system in Kenya.

The specific objectives of this initiative are as follow;

· To acquire a fully operational RPL Information Management System that meets the needs of KNQA.

· To obtain planning, configuration, implementation and product deployment services

· To obtain user training for KNQA ICT staff / analysts, system administrators, RPL technical staff and QAIs

· To establish a maintenance and technical support program for the deployed solution.

General Design Specifications

The generic features of the design and development of this portal is primarily to be:

  • Interactive and that will support and promote interactions and collaborations by both the internal and external users of the portal. The portal should be coherent and easy to navigate.
  • Dynamic/scalable and lead to unlocking the potential functionalities of the current software while displaying the content in a more organized, attractive and user-friendly manner.
  • Secure and safeguard content through a robust and resilient fortified firewall. Have a consistent layout whilst providing an environment for a new look and feel for refreshing the portal regularly.
  • Mobile compatible and easily accessible to all users.
  • Inclusive language module that adopts both English and Swahili
  • Fast loading and a consistent design against all major browsers.
  • The system should be able to accommodate multi user platform with accessibility to all the services in different countries. It should support addition of unlimited multi- country usage for inter qualifications sharing. The safe guard should being no country should NOT access and interfere with the other users.

Identified goals

We propose to design and develop a responsive portal (web based) that targets individuals with solid experience and knowledge in their field of work; acquired outside informal and non- formal learning setups to facilitate training, job linkage, mentoring, community building and digital monitoring and evaluation tools. The portal will:

  • Enable easy registration and validation of the applicants on the portal by the IPRS
  • Enable QAIs on the portal to register Assessment Centers, Assessors and Assessment areas
  • Allow submission of the applications to the RPL portal for RPL assessment
  • Allow uploading and screening/reviews of the applications and evidences to ascertain the suitability of the candidate for the applied occupation and modules
  • The assessor to review the evidence provided and to match skills with the units in the KNQF
  • Use dynamic features to communicate relevant information to RPL program stakeholders; Applicants, Coordinators, Internal Assessors, External Assessors, Moderators and all the staff involved throughout the process
  • Recording of applicants’ results after conducting practical skills testing, on-the-job assessment/observation undertaken by the Assessor at the Candidate’s workplace or in a different convenient location
  • Guide and support the applicants in making decisions, reflecting on learning experiences and their compatibility with the learning outcomes of the module or course and KNQF level through the coordinator
  • Allow the RPL Secretariat to onboard Coordinators, Internal Assessors, External Assessors, Moderators and all the staff involved throughout the process.
  • Provide a catalogue of the whole RPL process; registration application, Portfolio, financial conditions as well as the assessment process.
  • Collect feedback information from the end users. This information will be crucial to measure performance and inform the next course of action.
  • Facilitate assessment scheduling.
  • Allow Secretariat to generate reports include statistics such as candidates assessed, certified, their occupations etc at the end of each session by defining some parameters

PROPOSED FUNCTIONAL SYSTEM MODULES

The Authority identified the following as the key functional system modules to be implemented. The modules will be implemented with the features as discussed in the table below:

Module

Implementation/Features

Applicants Module

This module will allow Registration of the applicants personal details, Apply for Assessment, Uploading of work portfolio; which may include completed assessment items from previous study; and uploading of photos of their products onto a RPL online system, application, service payment, uploading of merchandise and services and application submission, track applications.

Assessment Module

On the assessment module, The Authority proposes to develop a module that will make it easy to manage all the assessment components of the RPL program. The module will have features to allow; Assess candidates’ suitability for a specific qualification (full or part); Request the candidate for additional information or clarifications regarding access to the RPL; Generation of RPL awarded Certificates; Interviewing of applicants after portfolio submission; On-the-job assessment and grading

This module will be integrated with the mentorship module. This will enable mentorship assignment to the applicants wishing to get mentored.

Communication Module

For ease of Communication within the portal, The Authority proposes implementing several ways of communication;

· Notify applicants whether he/she is admitted or not to the RPL process;

· Notify the applicants regarding the assessment process by the RPL Assessment Panel;

· Request the candidate for additional information or clarifications regarding access to the RPL

· Broadcasting Emails to RPL portal users as per their user groups

· Broadcasting texts (Bulk Messaging to RPL portal users as per their user groups

· Direct messaging between two users within the portal

· Dual language capabilities ( both English and Swahili)

Executives/ Management module

The Authority proposes implementation of a module specifically for summarized reports as will be guided by the client. these will be high level reports meant for high level stakeholders.

Analytics Module

The module will also give detailed and summarized analytical reports on applications received over time, Certificates awarded, Popular RPL Skills, Employment rate after certification, etc

One of the reasons why The Departments will use python is to aid in generating analytics and predictions based on the numerous transactions within the portal. This help in reviewing and updating policy.

QAI Module

This module will allow registration of QAIs, Assessment Areas and Assessment centers into the RPL system. The NAQIMS system will be integrated with the RPL system for validation of the QAIs during registration. This will ensure that only accredited QAIs by the KNQA will have access to conduct RPL Assessment.

PROPOSED PORTAL KEY FEATURES

KNQA proposes to develop a responsive portal optimized not only for desktop computers, laptops but also optimized to be viewed across a wide range of handheld devices, such as smartphones, notepads, and tablets. The Authority also proposes to develop a mobile application that will be seamlessly synchronized with the portal through APIs.

The portal will include the following features:

Frontend Portal Modules (Public facing interface)

Registration, Login,

Logout Module

Registering on the RPL Portal

For RPL users to benefit from program activities, they will be required to register and create an account. The nature of the account will vary depending on the type of user and the information provided by the users.

Logging into the RPL Portal

RPL members must enter their username/email and password in order to access the full suite of functionalities of the RPL Digital portal.

Logging out of the RPL Portal

RPL members can log out of the RPL Portal by clicking on the logout button to avoid someone accessing their profile.

Recovering credentials

In the event they forget, RPL members can recover their log-in credentials through an email or SMS recovery process.

Profile Module

Creating a profile

RPL members create their profile in order to start their user journey on the portal and access personalized and dynamic training, mentoring, and job opportunities depending on the evolution of their skills and careers pathways.

Updating a profile

RPL members can update their profile at any point in time to better reflect their status.

Exporting a profile

RPL members use the profile page of the RPL Portal to share their profile outside the portal.

Writing and receiving reviews on RPL member profiles

RPL members provide reviews/feedback/recommendations on other profiles they are linked to.

Accessing ‘My RPL’ section

RPL members will have access to a ‘My RPL’ section that will hold their profile details, provide a list of their training they have signed up, and allow them to access their certificates.

Infrastructure Module

Getting information on RPL centers

RPL members use the RPL Portal to get information and to sign up for all the activities available across all physical centers in the RPL Digital Program.

Making a booking

RPL members connect to the portal, find the activity they seek – training, event, studio and apply to participate in it.

Managing a booking

To make the best out of their bookings, RPL members connect

to My RPL section and manage their booked sessions by:

Resources and Information Module

Accessing general

information on RPL

RPL users access general information about the RPL program and a wealth of information on how to succeed in the digital and digitally enabled opportunity sphere.

Accessing a help

desk

RPL members can access a help desk should they encounter any issues on the portal or more broadly the RPL Digital Program.

Scalability

The system should be able to accommodate multi user platform with accessibility to all the services in different countries. It should support addition of unlimited multi- country usage for inter qualifications sharing.

Accessibility specifications

The accessibility specifications aim at enabling users to leverage RPL Portal with any kind of device.

Internet

Interoperability

Specification

RPL Portal is available through a web application designed for both mobile devices and computers and operational across the main browsers (e.g., Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox). The system must run on any screen sizes. Using modern UI frameworks for responsive design is highly recommended. Any opportunities that can reduce bandwidth should be considered, e.g., use of a progressive web application

Mobile App Version

Specification

RPL Portal is available through a mobile app (with offline capabilities).

USSD Version

Specification

Key functionalities of the portal can be accessed through USSD functionality to reach those who do not have access to the internet.

Desktop Version

Specification

RPL Portal (backend only) is available through a desktop version used by the RPL Team who don’t have access to a stable internet connection.

Warranty Requirements

· The system should have a 1 year Warranty

· An uptime of more than 99% has to be ensured for the system.

· During warranty period besides, all software upgrade, bugs/ patches and services shall be provided free of cost.

Warranty period conditions;

  • The vendor should provide a status report every six months through email to The authority about the support related complaints lodged by different users
  • The vendor should provide helpdesk support services through telephone/e-mail where users can lodge their complaint. Each user will be assigned a unique ticket number through which he/she should be able to track the action taken on his complaint through a support portal. The Project Manager should maintain the list of trouble tickets being opened and closed.
  • Any failure should be rectified within maximum period of two working days.
  • Any system module failing at least three times in three months, displaying chronic system design or quality control problem should be totally replaced by the provider at his cost and risk within 30 days.
  • System preventive maintenance and fine-tuning the performance of the system besides regular service calls should be carried out every 6 months during the warranty period.
  • On completion of the Warranty period, the authority has an option to enter into Annual Maintenance Contract with the supplier for post warranty maintenance of the systems.

Licenses and Support services

The system supplier should offer the following;

  • Personal support at the authority premises within 24 hours (Monday to Friday) on demand
  • Service Management services 24/7
  • Description of the Licensing model of the software
  • Maintenance (corrective) and upgrades to available new versions

Post Stabilization

• Bidder shall provide product support after going live, as part of this project by deputing technical and functional consultants at site for not less than one month after implementation

• During the stabilization period the bidder should help the authority to correct any troubleshooting while doing transactions or generating reports. The bidder will correct the user manual and configuration manuals if required.

• Any required configuration and/or customized during this phase would be done by bidder without any additional cost to the authority

System Management Annual Charges

Any charges such as annual maintenance, annual license fee and software support cost should be clearly stated. The privileges that will be experienced by subscribing to such annual charges should be clearly stated.

Testing Plan **

The Vendor should describe in detail in their proposal the testing environment and methodology to be used prior to handing over the system for client user acceptance testing (UAT).

Training

All the administrative users of the system should be trained to be able to use the system depending on their levels of authorization.

The solution provider should conduct several trainings for the Authority’s staff for a smooth transition. A training plan should be submitted and the trainings should include but not limited to the following areas:

· Starter training

· Administration (database, system, and other infrastructure)

· Performance enhancements, trouble shooting and fine tuning

· Application training – All users

· Solution walk-through with technical staff and administrators of the system training

· Workflow approvers/ originators training

· Management teams

Data Migration

This will involve migration of data and synchronization from existing systems to the proposed system.

· The system should have an easy way of moving data to and from the currently existing MIS system.

· The system provider should co-ordinate with existing system administrators to ensure smooth data archival, backup and replication.

Skills and Expertise requirements

The consultant should meet the following requirements.**

· University Degree in Information Technology, software development specialization or any related degree.**

· Knowledge of the software development life cycle i.e. Analysis, Software design, Debugging, Documentation, Testing, Problem Solving and Software Requirements**

· Six years practical experience and demonstrated knowledge in information systems design , development and implementation of web based ICT projects in Kenya **

· Experience in developing Mobile App application, M-pesa/Airtel Money Integration, USSD integration etc. **

· Must be a full-stack developer and understand concepts of software engineering**

· Deep programming language knowledge majorly in PHP, Python, MY SQL Database, Javascript, Node JS, J Queries**

Contract Duration

The Tasks set out in the scope of the system will be completed in a total of 8 weeks upon signing of the contract.

Reporting lines

The RPLIMS consultant will report to the KNQA Director General and ILO Chief Technical Advisor of the PROSPECTS project in Kenya. **

The position will receive technical support from RPL Technical team, National RPL consultant and will coordinate closely with the Regional Skills and Employment Specialist of PROSPECTS programme.

How to Apply

Interested applicants should submit their expression of interest including a Technical proposal, detailed work plan and financial proposal and other supporting documents that show previous experience in similar assignments to E- mail: nboprocurement@ilo.org to reach no later than 5.00 P.M. on Wednesday 2nd December 2020, Quoting “**Consultancy for KNQA Recognition of Prior Learning Information Management System in Kenya**” **

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