THE National Policy and Criteria for the Implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) (Amended in 2019) amends the National Policy for the Implementation of RPL published in the Government Gazette in 2014.

This 2019 Amended RPL Policy and Criteria provides for the implementation of RPL within the context of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act 67 of 2008. Also, it positions RPL in relation to the overarching principles and priorities of the NQF. The objectives of this 2019 Amended RPL Policy and Criteria are to ensure that the objectives of the NQF Act are met and in particular to facilitate access to mobility and progression within education, training and career paths.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the time and effort to fit an entire course into our lives and the lives of our employees, especially for those already working and juggling other commitments. Despite the convenience of online training courses, there may still be an issue with time. This is where the RPL comes into play.

Gaining recognition for previous skills, experience and/or qualifications can shorten the time it takes to gain a qualification or skills programme and allows you or your employees to become eligible for qualifications you may not otherwise be able to attain. The South African Qualifications Authority facilitates the progression of students through qualifications by awarding credits for learning outcomes they have already achieved.

Getting these credits may allow for entry into a full qualification, a degree course or provide partial credit towards a full qualification. RPL broadens access into formal learning by granting credit for student achievement though other formal, non-formal or informal learning. RPL involves the completion of an assessment by means of a portfolio of evidence or an External Integrated Summative Assessment, in the case of the new Quality Council for Trades and Occupations qualifications, to determine the extent to which that individual’s previous learning relates to the learning outcomes and assessment criteria of the chosen qualification.

Many companies and service providers fail historically disadvantaged learners by not taking steps to introduce RPL initiatives. This is against the spirit and letter of the NQF. Many companies fail to implement a policy on RPL simply because they do not know how to go about it or what process to follow. Now is the time to make a change to ensure that the spirit and letter of the NQF is adhered to and that people who should be benefiting from RPL are in fact doing so.

Des Squire is a director at AMSI and Associates. Contact des@amsiandassociates.co.za

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