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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
RPL is a process by which learning and experience of a candidate, irrespective of how it was obtained, is compared with the learning outcomes or units standards required for a specific qualification.
This is critical in an outcome-based education system where a learner accumulates credits through formal, informal and non-formal learning.
The Benefits of RPL
The benefits of RPL should be seen in terms of a cycle of growth. This starts with the individual expressing a need for their competencies to be recognised. This is followed by a process of guided growth to self-knowledge and self-esteem, but also to a possible recognition of learning needed to fulfil the potential demonstrated in experience. The achievement of an award may lead to higher or more productive employment, or to access into further education and training. The latter offers benefits of efficiency on the part of providers as well as for the individual concerned – i.e. through not having to study what is already known. Economic benefits arise from the greater assertiveness and confidence of empowered individuals and from the availability of recognised knowledge and skills. Beyond this, there is the recognition of skills and knowledge (craft, indigenous, local, communal) so that they are brought more fully into the active economy, and are recognised as national assets.