Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can be an effective tool for educational redress if used correctly. So why aren't more people taking advantage of this qualification model?
What is RPL?
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process through which formal, non-formal and informal learning are measured and recognized, giving candidates the opportunity to receive professional qualification for skills, experience and expertise developed during employment.
According to Debbie Turner, Managing Director of Competence Performance Consulting, “RPL is a well-known principle but the implementation of the practice has been poorly embraced since its inception 20 years ago.”
She says companies are often unaware of the financial provisions that are available through Sector Education and Training Authority's(Seta's) for RPL learnerships.
At the same time learners are loathe to participate in the cumbersome process of evidence collection which is a necessary part of the RPL programe.
Other obstacles for learners include “the fear of the fundamental literacy and numeracy component of qualifications by candidates.”
There are also challenges for training providers who want to deliver this service says Debbie Turner.
“Providers are obligated to charge a lot less for RPL but often end up doing a lot more due to candidates not being truly eligible for RPL.”
Despite these barriers RPL offers workers a unique opportunity to receive official recognition while minimizing the time it takes to earn a qualification.