IPM Policy on Recognition of Prior Learning
Definitions and Benefits of Recognition of Prior Learning
The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an international practice that gives currency and recognition to a person’s previous learning, regardless of how and where that learning was acquired. In essence, it allows skills and knowledge acquired outside of formal educational institutions to be formally recognised.
Recognising learning that takes place in both formal and informal environments may enable and improve access to employment, career opportunities and further formal education.
RPL of employees in organizations has the following benefits:
- identification, management and retention of talent
- the opening up of career transition pathways and the verification of competencies for advancement or placement
- identification of areas of competence and gaps that can be supplemented or enhanced through further learning and development activities.
SAQA intends for South Africa to address its need for a more skilled, flexible and productive workforce through RPL.
RPL is central to skills development in South Africa and thus:
- the New Growth Path,
- the National Qualifications Framework,
- the National Skills Development Strategy,
- the Human Resources Development Strategy.
RPL is intended to facilitate the transformation of the education and training system of South Africa and to address barriers to learning and assessment. RPL should assist with addressing and accelerating historical imbalances in education, training and employment opportunities. It should contribute to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the nation at large.
There is an urgency to bridge and expand existing islands of excellent in RPL practice, and to go to scale with RPL in the country. RPL has thus become one of the elements in the assessment criteria and development practice of Quality Councils.
For more information please visit SAQA’s working document on RPL principles here: