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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:
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:
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:
The RPLH assessment process
The RPL assessment is the process of identifying what a person knows and can do, in other words, it allows candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
RPL assessment takes place against unit standards and a person needs to prove their competence against each outcome of the unit standard.
At the close of the assessment, the candidate is issued with credits for the learning they have been able to display.
The credits are in turn linked to South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) registered qualifications, which could be a few unit standards or even a full qualification.
Portfolio of Evidence
RPL will only be conducted upon submission of a Certified Portfolio of Evidence (POE) stating the exact Experiential Outcomes achieved which would equate to the Notional Hours of Learning Required as per NQF Level.IPM Policy on RPL
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SAQA is in the process of reviewing RPL in South Africa.
A working document on RPL principles can be sourced here: