n South African Journal of Higher Education - Let the doors of learning be open to all - a case for recognition of prior learning




Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process of evaluating an adult learners previous experience, skills, knowledge and informal learning and articulating it towards a formal qualification. Whilst RPL is enshrined in a number of international qualifications frameworks, there are certain barriers which have prevented its application and widespread use. These include personal, institutional, financial and procedural barriers. In 2007, the Graduate School of Business of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, admitted seven students onto the MBA programme on the basis of RPL. The decision was challenged by senior academics at Faculty level on the basis that it was unfair that someone with no prior qualifications could be admitted to Masters Study programme and would obtain a qualification equal to or just below that of academics who had spent at least seven years to achieve a Masters qualification. It was counter-claimed that RPL was a national imperative and one which the University had a moral obligation to meet. Furthermore, it was argued that, on the basis of the University policy on RPL, the School and Faculty had an obligation to comply. This study aimed to determine the academic merit of RPL (a student's performance on the programme) and whether or not RPL students needed additional support or mentorship. Based on the student's results, RPL has been found to have academic merit and RPL students did not require additional support in order to succeed on the MBA.


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