Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for Kenyans Planning to Emigrate, Study and Live in Canada

Congratulations on making up your mind to emigrate from Kenya to Canada.

Introduction

As you may have noticed, if you are planning to move to Canada, it is required for your Kenyan Education to be evaluated and assessed to Canadian Education Equivalent.

Educational Credential Assessment is commonly known as ECA. I will use ECA in the remainder of this post to refer to Educational Credential Assessment of Kenyan Education Qualifications.

ECA is a Requirement of the Canadian Government for anyone planning to immigrate to Canada as a Skilled Worker.

No one is discriminating against Kenyans immigrating to Canada. Citizens of other Countries are also asked to get ECA done of their Foreign Education Qualifications.

All they want to know is if your Kenyan Degree or Masters or PhD degree can be compared to their Education credentials.

Everyone immigrating to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker even if from Australia, US, New Zealand, UK or anywhere else in the World has to have their Education Credentials assessed to Canadian Equivalency.

When your Kenyan Education Certificates have been assessed for Canadian equivalency, you will receive an ECA Report at the end both in Soft Copy and a Hard Copy via Mail Box / Courier Service that will be essential as one of the vital requirements you have to meet before you can file for your intent to immigrate to Canada as a Skilled Worker or as an International Student enrolled at a Canadian University.

To get your ECA done is an easy thing to do as I will show you here shortly.

Before we get into the depth of things, your friend here has already done ECA for their MSc and BSc here from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and got their Education Qualifications equated to a Canadian Masters.

You are in Safe Hands. I will fill you in on all the pertinent details about getting ECA for your Kenyan Qualifications so that you get it right the first time.

I am going to share here with you how I got my ECA done.

My Master’s degree in Computing and Degree in Computing both from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology were evaluated to equivalency of a Canadian Master’s degree.

They did not tell me that my Kenyan Education is equivalent to a Master’s degree in Computing, they sent me an ECA report indicating that it is equivalent to a Master’s degree.

This is usually the case with almost everyone. Do not panic when you see that your Master’s in [your course] degree has been equated to a Canadian Master’s degree without the course mentioned.

Similarly, your BSc [your course] or BA [your course] or BTech [your course] has been equated to simply a Canadian Bachelor’s degree without the course mentioned.

So, how badly do you want to immigrate to Canada? Hahaa!

Getting your ECA done is part of the steps that will inch you closer to getting there.

I will show you how I got my ECA done, in a legitimate way and on my own without the intervention of anyone. It is Simple and Easy! Trust me.

Feeling psyched up now?

This is usually a lonely journey and there is usually scant information that you can rely on especially if you are looking for one tailored from a Kenyan perspective but I will guide you based on my experience so far.

Let’s get this done now! I got your back Friend.

Before we begin, it is good to lay down a summary of the entire ECA Process of Kenyan Educational Qualifications for Immigration to Canada.

So, in a Few Steps How is ECA for Kenyan earned Education Qualifications done for Immigration to Canada?

In summary, these are the Steps required. I will further describe them in detail for you if you read along to the end.

  1. Choose an approved Canadian Organization for Assessing your Kenyan Education Qualifications
  2. Sign up and Register your particulars. These will include your Name as it appears on your Education Certificates, List all your Degree Certificates and Years of Completion.
  3. After you Sign Up and Register, you will be Prompted to Pay Assessment fees so that you can Activate your ECA account. Make sure all the details you entered are correct and process payment. It varies from one ECA Organization to another but it should range from 250 to 350 CAD but not more than that. CAD stands for Canadian Dollars. Check this link for Canadian Dollars equivalency to Kenya Shillings.
  4. When you make payment for Assessment Fees, you will be given a Download link with a list of Documents to guide you on how to do ECA Correctly. You will also receive an e-mail with this Download link too on the e-mail you provided during Sign Up and Registration Step.
  5. Download these Documents. They will have a set of Requirements for you to follow to Get ECA done Correctly including a Document for your former University officials to Sign.
  6. Follow to Details everything stipulated in the Requirements documents provided by ECA Organization so that your ECA gets done smoothly with no delays.
  7. Prepare copies of all your Kenyan Education Certificated including your Degree Certificates and Transcripts for all the Years you studied for your Degree course.
  8. Go to your Kenyan University’s Examination Department and Get your Degrees and Transcripts verified by University Officials from Examination Department and Stamped with their Official University Department’s Stamp. You will have to get a day or two off from your work place to travel to commute to your former University.
  9. Request for an Official University A4 Envelope with University Logo to place your Stamped and Verified Degree copies and Transcripts. Usually they will put your Stamped and Verified documents in this University Official Envelope and give it to you to verify before they seal it for you.
  10. Once you have confirmed that all the copies of your Degrees and Transcripts have been stamped and verified by University officials. Confirm that the Document from the ECA Organization that you downloaded after you made your ECA Assessment Fees Payment has been Stamped and Signed by the University’s Examinations officials.
  11. Give back the Envelope to the University Officials to seal it for you. All ECA Organizations require that Envelope to be sealed by the University, Stamped and Signed all-round the Seams of the Envelope and the Flap by the University Examination Department Officials. Your University has done this before with other former students who embarked on this process before you so be patient with them as they do it for you.
  12. The University Official will return to you the sealed Envelope with your Stamped, Signed and Verified documents inside for you to courier to your ECA Organization.
  13. Put the mailing address of the ECA Organization on the envelope as indicated in the documents you downloaded after Payment of your ECA Fees.
  14. Go to General Post Office and inquire about EMS Service. If in Nairobi City, go to GPO and ask for EMS Service. At GPO, EMS is outside the main GPO building. Pay for EMS Service to courier your Envelope to ECA Organization. Ask them to provide you with that polythene branded EMS parcel / bag so that you put your Envelope therein and confirm that it is sealed. This Helps prevent instances of Fraudulent Posta Employees attempting to open your Envelope while on Transit while searching for money. It is also water proof. ECA Organizations cannot process your ECA for you if the Envelope from University was opened after University sealed it. So make sure you ask for that EMS branded Polythene parcel / bag to put your envelope inside. It is FREE. Ask for it.
  15. Once you have mailed your Kenyan Education Credentials to your chosen ECA Organization, you will be provided with a Tracking Number. Use Tracking Number to follow your package in Transit. This could take 3-5 days. Allow for 3 more days after it arrives in Canada for ECA Organization to notify you about receiving your Kenyan Education Credentials.
  16. After ECA Organization has received your Envelope with copies of your Kenyan Degrees and Certificates, they will notify you on your ECA User profile on their website. Always check your ECA User profile in their website every once in a while for any communication from them.
  17. Your Education Evaluation will start almost immediately. During this time there is nothing you will be required to do on your part. The ECA Organization will be in touch with your University as they evaluate your Education and confirm every other details they want with your University.
  18. Should the ECA Organization need you to update anything like provide them with a University e-mail or Telephone number to liaise with your former University, they will notify you but rarely does such happen.
  19. Wait for ECA to get done. It can take anywhere from 2 – 6 months so this is one of the hurdles you should clear from the very beginning as you embark on your journey to get to Canada.
  20. Finally, after ECA is completed, you will be notified of the equivalence of your Kenyan Education Qualifications to those of Canada. This will be done via your ECA User profile on their Website and at the end, the ECA Organization will send you the full Physical ECA Report to Kenya. This can take 2 to 1 month to arrive at your Local Post Office Box in Kenya.

That is all!

With your ECA Report in your hand, you can now apply for immigration to Canada.

Where do I go to get my ECA of Kenyan Education Qualifications for Immigration to Canada?

There are a number of Organizations in Canada where you can send copies of your Kenyan Qualifications to get ECA done.

IMPORTANT: No institution in Kenya can do ECA for you. ECA is done by Canadian institutions based ONLY in Canada. They do not have branches in Kenya or anywhere else apart from Canada. I am mentioning this to caution you so that you do not get conned by Fraudsters.

Here is a List of Organizations in Canada which are authorized by Government of Canada which can assess Kenyan Education Qualifications for their equivalency to Canadian Education System. They are;

  1. World Education Services (WES)
  2. International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
  3. International Credential Evaluation Service(ICES)
  4. International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
  5. Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Computing Studies

No other Canadian Organizations apart from these 5 mentioned here can do ECA for your Kenyan Education Qualifications.

Which Organization is Best for Assessing Kenyan Qualifications for Immigration to Canada?

This is one of the Questions that you should consider first before choosing an Organization for your ECA.

There are some vital reasons I am going to explain here shortly as to why you should be very keen and alert when choosing an ECA organization. Read on and do not miss out on anything.

Do not panic! I just do not want you to mess up at this point.

World Education Services (WES) is one of those ECA Organizations which are known to process ECA very Quickly than the rest. On their website they say something to do with 21 days though it can vary depending with the type of correspondence they may need to do with your former University.

In my case, World Education Services (WES) took around 3 months.

IMPORTANT: Of all the 5 approved ECA Organizations by Government of Canada, World Education Services (WES) mostly recognize and assess correctly Education Qualifications from old and well known Public Universities and a few Private Universities globally.

This does not mean that they will not assess your Education if your former University got a charter in the past few years. They will assess your Qualifications but it may not be in a way that you expected. This may not be your fault but it is something you can avoid.

So here is how things could turn out, World Education Services may assess your Bachelors and Master’s degree to equivalency of Canadian 2 degrees instead of a Bachelors and Master’s degree equivalent.

What this translates to is that, you will not get the full points for your Master’s degree which you need so much so as to raise your points to be considered and selected among the top applicants who meet the threshold required of immigrating to Canada as a Skilled Worker.

Some Master’s degrees in India are not considered as equivalent of Canadian Master’s and this could also happen with some of the Universities here in Kenya if you decide to go with World Education Services for your ECA.

Hope you get it now.

So what do you do to prevent such possible outcomes? Here is how you should go about it.

You are in Safe Hands. I will Help you navigate these caveats.

If you studied for your Undergraduate degree or PhD or Master’s degree in any of these below Kenyan Universities, you can go with World Education Services (WES) for your ECA. Your Undergraduate or PhD or Master’s degree will be assessed to equivalency of a Canadian Undergraduate or PhD or Master’s degree within a short turnaround time. At most 3 months if it takes long. These Kenyan Universities are;

  1. University of Nairobi
  2. Kenyatta University
  3. Moi University
  4. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
  5. Egerton University
  6. Maseno University
  7. United States International University
  8. Strathmore University

Are you wondering why I am only talking about PhD and Master’s degrees here and not Undergraduate degrees? You are right if this piqued your curiosity.

The postgraduate programs like PhD and Master’s degrees earn you extra points than undergraduate degrees for your Application in Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker immigration category of the Express Entry immigration stream to Canada.

This is why you should make sure that you get the most points for your PhD or Master’s degree so that you earn the maximum points in the education qualifications category.

If you are planning to go for a Master’s degree or PhD, please choose one of the above universities so that you stack up your points high when it comes to time for applying for Immigration to Canada as a Skilled Worker.

It would be so discouraging after getting your Master’s degree or PhD degree from a University institution and World Education Services (WES) gives an advisory verdict ECA Report that is below your expectation like e.g.

  • Equating your undergraduate degree + Master’s degree to 2 undergraduate degrees
  • Equating your undergraduate degree to a 3 year College Diploma
  • Equating your undergraduate degree + Master’s degree to 4 year undergraduate degree

IMPORTANT: To earn full points for your Kenyan earned postgraduate degrees and undergraduate degree, making the right choice for the ECA Organization which will assess your Kenyan Education Qualifications is very important.

Now, if you earned your Undergraduate degree or PhD or Master’s degree from any other Kenyan Universities and Colleges other than the above listed ones, I would advise against using World Education Services (WES) for your ECA assessment.

World Education Services (WES) take time to update their list of Global Universities and they may not have some of the recently accredited Universities in Kenya which received their full Charter to offer degree courses recently.

It is not like they intentionally discriminate but every Organization has its own policies which may not be agreeable across the board and to you as well if you do not meet what is their threshold.

So for World Education Services (WES) they are more used to dealing with Kenyan Education Credentials from the old Kenyan Public University institutions and very few Kenyan Private Universities.

The other best ECA Organization alternative to World Education (WES) which recognizes and frequently updates their list of global Universities as soon as they get charter to offer degrees is International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS).

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) is second most popular to World Education Services (WES) but is known for taking long to process ECA for their Candidates but when they finally do it, they respond back with positive feedback.

If you are in doubt about any of your Kenyan Education Qualifications, send them to International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS).

Your Kenyan Undergraduate degree will be given an equivalent of a Canadian Undergraduate degree, Kenyan earned Master’s degree will be given an equivalent of a Canadian Master’s degree and so will your Kenyan earned PhD.

The only drawback for International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) as compared to World Education Services (WES) is the long time they take to process your ECA but finally they do it right for you.

In my case I went with World Education Services (WES). My Master’s degree in Computing and Degree in Computing were all from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and were all together evaluated to the equivalency of a Canadian Master’s degree.

I was among the first cohort to graduate with my Master’s degree course as it was recently introduced in the University and there were no more than 30 former students having this Msc degree so I was worried that World Education Services (WES) would recognize it and give it an equivalency of a Canadian Master’s degree but they recognized it and I was so Happy! Otherwise, I was planning to go with International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) for my ECA instead if World Education Services (WES) did not recognize and give it an equivalency of a Canadian Master’s degree.

IMPORTANT: If you are in doubt or have second thoughts about any of your Kenyan Education Degree Certificates and the Kenyan University from which you earned them, go with International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS).

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) will eventually send you a Positive ECA report so you do not need to worry about anything. As you wait for your ECA Report, you can prepare for IELTS and take the IELTS Test so that when your ECA Report is finally out you also have your IELTS report card ready and apply for Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker and await selection to file your documents to begin your journey to immigrating to Canada.

Is your Canadian immigration dream still on? Hope this ECA section helped give Hope to someone out there who is stuck or going thru a long ECA evaluation process for their Kenyan Academic credentials.

How to Plan and Prepare to do ECA Correctly for your Kenyan Education Qualifications?

To get thru your ECA process smoothly, you need to prepare beforehand and even plan to get some time off from your work. In some instances, you may need a couple of days off especially if your former institution is far from where you work. Unwritten wisdom dictates that you do not go about blabbering about your plans and what you will be doing while away. You do not want to ask for leave and come back to find you have been relieved off your duties or a replacement has been found for you. Be smart!

To prepare for your ECA as mentioned earlier, you will need to make Photocopies of all your Degree Certificates and all years of study Transcripts and take them to your former University for Verification, Stamping, Signing and eventually for Packaging and Sealing in an Official University A4 Envelope with University Logo (The big one the size of an A4 or Foolscap).

I do not intend to scare you or make it look like a hard process but if you anticipate all manner of eventualities, you will not be surprised if anything does not go according to plan.

For example, you may find that the Examination Department is relocating to a new office block within the University and they had issued a memo that they would be closed down for 2 days.

Also, do not go to your former University for Verification of your documents for ECA during the times when Examinations are in session. During these times the Examination department is very busy and they may not even have time to attend to you.

Another thing, if you can retrieve e-mail or telephone contacts from your former University website before you commit to take your documents for Verification, you can confirm that the University officials who should attend to your case will have no commitments for the day and that they will be available on the day you go to present your documents there. Universities like all other Public institutions in Kenya may not be Quick to respond to e-mails and when they do, it could be a week or two or even a month later. So do not rely on e-mail as much. University Public telephone lines too could go unanswered for long depending on how busy guys are in that Department.

As I conclude, this is just in case it happens to you, if you are told that there are no Official University Envelopes with University Logo to package and seal your Verified documents and are asked to maybe collect your Envelope for posting to ECA Organization in a day or two or even the following week and time is not on your side, do not let that dampen your spirits, you could pop into some other offices around and ask for one or find someone, like a friend or a former lecturer who works there to get one for you and take it back to the examination department for them to package and seal your documents in there for you. Hope you understand! If you know what I mean you know!

Finally, establish a good rapport with the staff at the Examination department who serve you and collect their contacts especially their cellphone numbers as you may need to liaise with them later should you need any clarification from the University side should the ECA process stall at some point.

ECA Organization may send some communication to University and since the University may not have checked their e-mail for some time, the process may stall. If you have contacts of some of the staff, you can ask them to check their official e-mail as ECA Organization is awaiting for correspondence from their end to continue with your ECA processing.

That is all! In my view, I think I have emptied everything I had to share with you about the process of getting Kenyan Educational Credentials evaluated for their Canadian Equivalency.

If you have any Questions, please e-mail them to me and I will respond to them on the FAQ section. If I do not have an answer for them I will still post them and hope that Kenyans who has gone thru the same before will be kind enough to share their experience as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about getting ECA done for Kenyan Education Qualifications

Is it a must to get ECA for Kenyan Qualifications done if I want to immigrate to Canada as a Skilled Worker migrant?

ECA is a must! You earn points for ECA in your Canada immigration application. It is the only way employers in Canada can be able to quantify your foreign earned Qualifications to those of Canada to determine if you are eligible for job positions there. Besides that, they will also help you to enroll for postgraduate degrees in Canadian Universities to upgrade your Education Qualifications too.

How Long does ECA take for it to be complete?

It could take somewhere between 2 – 6 months depending with an ECA Organization as well as how fast your former University is to responding to secondary Verification procedures from ECA Organization. In my case, World Education Services (WES) sent a number of Verifications to be done afterwards to my former University.

How much in Kenya Shillings will an ECA Organization charge me for ECA to be done?

Plan in the range of 250 to 350 CAD. The Canadian Dollar (CAD) has a lower value than the United States Dollar (USD) so this could be something in the range of KShs 18, 780 to KShs 26, 290. The Fees is wholly determined by the ECA Organization you choose and the mailing package you choose for receiving back your ECA Report. Canadian Taxes will also be included too in the final Fees cost.

The ECA Fee cost does not look like much but if you happen to be in need of it urgently, like e.g. if you had not earlier planned for it or you just got convinced immediately to get it done, it can be a little bit daunting to get it ready. Just plan ahead and you will be alright.

To process your ECA Fees, you will do it online via a Visa or Master Card as you will be guided by your ECA Organization.

What Happens if my Undergraduate degree is from University of Nairobi and my Master’s degree is from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and I want to get ECA for all my Academic Qualifications?

This is not a new one. Most Kenyans seeking to get ECA done for their Kenyan Qualifications before they immigrate to Canada will fall into this category. Luckily, unlike them, in my case I had all my Academic Certificates earned from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

The procedure is simple. In fact, it is not different from my situation.

Here is how you go about it.

Prepare the photocopies of all your Academic documents separately for each Kenyan institution and take documents from each institution to the particular Kenyan University where you earned them for Verification, Stamping, Signing, Packaging and Sealing in Official University envelope with University Logo. Make sure the University Officials Stamp and Sign the Envelope package on the seams and on the flap before they hand it over to you to courier it to the ECA Organization in Canada. Use EMS service at GPO for Quick delivery and remember to ask for that EMS branded EMS Polythene bag and put your envelope therein and seal it. Add address of the ECA Organization on the EMS Polythene parcel / bag.

You could plan that one day you take the University of Nairobi documents for verification and the next day you commute to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology for verification of your postgraduate Qualifications.

Take note that this process is very critical and that you cannot even send someone to do it for you.

You will also need to produce your National ID Card because that is what they will use to compare names on your Degree Certificated and Transcripts to confirm that you are the true owner of those documents.

Once you have the two envelopes, mail them together to the ECA Organization. The other advantage of asking for the EMS branded Polythene service parcel / bag at the General Post Office is that you can put the envelopes from the two institutions together and mail them together as one parcel.

Hope this answer helps.

What Happens if I also have another Academic Qualification from another University that is not based in Kenya?

This is also not alien. Some people have degrees from offshore University institutions.

Better run and well managed institutions can send copies of your documents to ECA Organizations upon your request. If you studied in some of those you are lucky, otherwise you will need to figure out how you will get your copies attested and sent to ECA Organization like World Education Services (WES) for Assessment of your Academic Qualifications.

If you studied in Uganda, Nigeria or any other State or Public University in Africa, chances are that they are not very different from our local Kenyan Public Universities and the University Officials there may not even budge from their seats to respond to your email requests if you do not show up at their desks there. Hahaa! Sadly that is the current status of affairs for most of these public institutions if you hail from this part of the world. Trump referred to them as * countries. Hahaa! Maybe things are different for those who studied in United States International University, Strathmore University, Daystar University, Africa Nazarene University, Mount Kenya University, Kenya Methodist University, Catholic University of Eastern Africa, The Presbyterian University of East Africa or Scott Christian University.

Do I need to get ECA done for my Kenyan Qualifications if I only want to go to Canada for purposes of study only?

Yes you do. To get into Canadian institutions to pursue Postgraduate studies you will need to have your Kenyan Qualifications assessed first by an ECA body like World Education Services (ECA) before you are given the green lights on whether you can enroll to study for any course there. At least for most Universities they will ask for an ECA report first which you need to have done in good time, way before you apply for the course you want because ECA sometimes can take long to be completed and get your ECA report back.

For How Long is an ECA valid?

Your ECA is valid for 5 years. If nothing changed in between, like e.g. you earned more qualifications, you will just renew it and it will be active again for another 5 years. If you will have become a Canadian Citizen by then I do not think anyone will bother you much about it but that is subject to confirmation. I will clarify that and update this answer before not so long.

Does ECA Expire?

No it does not but if you need to use it again, you may need to renew it. Refer to the Question, ‘How Long is an ECA Valid? ‘ above for more clarification.

What can Complicate or Screw up my Application for ECA of my Kenyan Academic Qualifications?

Misrepresentation or any act of Fraud. Steer away from forging anything or giving any wrong information that is not a true representation of your Qualifications. The Government of Canada has a zero tolerance for such malpractices and corruption.

That's all! I hope this will Help a Sister or a Brother somewhere going thru the Canada Immigration Process and anyone else who may find this to be resourceful.

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