KCSE mandatory for Kenyans to works as housemaids in Saudi Arabia- Govt says

The Kenyan Government now says all ladies intending to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as Housemaids must posses a form Four Certificate (KCSE). Foreign Recruitment Agencies have opposed the directive.

Kenyans intending to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as housemaids will now be required to have proof of completing secondary education.

The latest circular from the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) has mandated all schools that train girls destined for Saudi Arabia as housemaids to strictly admit trainees with a KCSE certificate.

“According to (sic) Article 28 of the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child and Article 53 (1)- (b) of the constitution of Kenya and in adherence to sections 28 and 30 of the Basic Education Act 2013 and Section 7 of the Children Acto 2010, all (housemaid) trainees admitted for Cohort-31 should possess a minimum of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) Certificate,” reads the circular by NITA to Homecare schools.

The move is a blow to hundreds of foreign recruitment agencies that have relied on ferrying maids to Saudi Arabia as their major source of income.

Initially, a Kenyan lady interested in working as a housemaid in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia only needed to be able to read and write, there was no particular demand for any proof of any level of education.

Ladies interested in working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have to attend homecare training for 3 weeks where they are taught the basics of working as a housemaid in a modern homestead, particularly living with an Arabic family.

Most of those who take up maid jobs in Saudi Arabia are those who either finished class 8 and never proceeded to secondary school or those who dropped out before sitting their KCSE exams.

NITA has warned Homecare Schools against uploading fake KCPE and KCSE academic certificates, saying should such cases arise, the housemaid trainees will be punished by law and the Homecare Schools made to bear the costs of such suits.

House helps have for years made the largest category of labor exports from Kenya to the Kingdom of Saudi, with data from the Ministry of Labour indicating that by 2022, nearly 80,000 Kenyan domestic workers had secured jobs in the Middle Eastern country.

The development thus spells doom to hundreds of Kenyan ladies without KSCE certificates and who would get better employment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as housemaids earning between KSh 30,000- KSh 42,000 depending on the prevailing exchange rate.

The Association of Skilled Migrant Agencies of Kenya (KAPEA) has since asked its members to disregard the directive and to not admit any housemaid trainees to Homecare School.

“The key question is, if other professionals can secure international jobs based on Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), trade test, and skills verification qualification, what is unique about housemaids destined for the Kingdom of Saudi? This is certainly not a requirement for housemaids to other international destinations,” reads a statement from KAPEA Secretary General, Monica Mwema.

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