Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a mechanism for formally recognising and placing a value on what people have learned through their daily life, work experience, informal and/or non-formal learning. This is an enabling mechanism for candidates to gain alternative access to further learning opportunities or improved career prospects. The latest definition of RPL by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA; 2013) is as follows:
“Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)” means the principles and processes through which the prior knowledge and skills of a person are made visible, mediated and assessed for the purpose of alternative access and admission, recognition and certification, or further learning and development.”
There are two main pathways of RPL, namely RPL for Credits and RPL for Access. This process focuses on RPL for Access which is defined by SAQA (2013) to:
“To provide an alternative access route into a programme of learning for those who do not meet the formal entry requirements for admission. RPL for Access applies to learning programmes offered by an accredited institution of further learning (including a post-school institution and an adult learning centre) or workplace-based training provider.”
Reference: The South African Qualifications Authority. (2013). National Policy for the Implementation of the Recognition of Prior Learning. Pretoria: The South African Qualifications Authority.
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