n South African Journal of Education - Recognition of Prior Learning as an integral component of competence-based assessment in South Africa

Volume 22, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



The concept of recognising and accrediting - what people already know and can do - is having a significant impact on many of the education and training programmes currently being developed. This is irrespective of whether that learning has been acquired through unstructured learning, performance development, off-the-job assessment, or skills and knowledge that meet workplace needs but have been gained through various previous learning experiences. The concept Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is understood by most in the area of adult education as the method of assessing relevant competences gained by adults through work and life experiences, which can then be counted towards qualifications or for promotion in the workplace by using a systematic set of procedures. A practical elaboration of RPL policy and practice in the current South African education and training sector is urgently needed. Administered carefully, and supported by explicitly anti-discriminatory policies and practices, RPL can indeed contribute to movements for greater casual mobility, thus optimising South Africa's under-used skills and expertise. In doing so, this country can embark upon a realistic and attainable strategy towards becoming a winning nation.

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