The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the process of evaluating what you already know and determining whether it is relevant to the qualification you are looking to study towards. The fact that it considers academic, non-formal, and informal learning is its best feature.
These include provider programs, seminars, and on-the-job training. RPL makes it unnecessary for you as an advanced student to take courses that you don't need to.
In South Africa, RPL is governed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). In addition to this, RPL is also helpful for those who might not meet the entry requirements for a course but have relevant experience.
Here is a comprehensive guide on how to apply for RPL in South Africa.
Step 1: Identify the Qualification and Provider
The first step in applying for RPL is to identify the qualification you wish to apply for and the provider who offers it. The provider should be registered with SAQA and accredited by a relevant Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) or Quality Council.
Step 2: Determine Eligibility
Before applying for RPL, it is important to determine your eligibility. You must meet the minimum entry requirements for the qualification and have relevant prior learning and experience. This can be assessed through a self-assessment tool or consultation with the provider.
Step 3: Gather Evidence
To support your RPL application, you will need to gather evidence of your prior learning and experience. This may include academic transcripts, certificates, letters of recommendation, work samples, job descriptions, and a Portfolio of Evidence as this is where your course knowledge will be tested. It is important to ensure that the evidence you provide is relevant to the qualification you are applying for.
Step 4: Apply for RPL Assessment
Once you have identified the qualification, determined your eligibility, and gathered evidence, you can apply for an RPL assessment. The provider will provide you with an application form and guide you through the process. The application fee may vary, depending on the provider and qualification.
Step 5: Attend the Assessment Interview
After submitting your application, you will be invited for an assessment interview. During the interview, you will be required to provide additional evidence and demonstrate your skills and knowledge. The assessor will assess your evidence and determine whether you meet the minimum requirements for the qualification.
Step 6: Receive the Assessment Outcome
After the assessment interview, you will receive an assessment outcome. If you meet the minimum requirements for the qualification, you will be awarded the qualification or receive credits toward it. If you do not meet the minimum requirements, you will be advised on areas that need improvement.
Step 7: Appeal Assessment Outcome
If you are not satisfied with the assessment outcome, you can appeal the decision. The provider will provide you with an appeals process and guide you through it.
It's also critical to bear in mind that RPL cannot give you all of the course credits you need. This means that you won't be able to skip ahead to graduation day using your prior knowledge. You must finish at least 50% of the course with the institution in order to earn a qualification from them.
That being said, RPL is a valuable process that can lead to the awarding of qualifications or credits toward qualifications. It is important to follow the above steps to ensure a successful RPL application in South Africa.