Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) gains momentum in different parts of Africa

All learning is valuable, RPL gives you wings!

We knew about the dynamic Kenyan RPL policy, supported by RPL guidelines and tools and the nationwide visible pilot projects in 3 sectors (car mechanics, welding and textiles)! But there is more in development and practical implementation in Africa! Visit KNQA-RPL if you are interested to know more details on the Kenyan RPL policy and instruments.

Mozambique has just adopted, in August 2021, new legislation on RPL for Technical and Vocational Education and Training qualifications and started a pilot project supporting 45 candidates, with relevant work experience, to get qualifications in 3 professions: electrician, welder, textile operator. ANEP is the main implementation institution in TVET and RPL policy and the website is accessible with more information on policies, governance, instruments related with the NQF and National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications.

Cape Verde already had extensive RPL legislation and methodological foundations, but in 2021 moved a step further to practical implementation. RPL pilot projects were conducted for a qualification of NQF level 3 in Services Food and Drinks in the sector of Hotels, Restauration, and Tourism. To expand the offer of RPL a group of 20 professionals (facilitators, assessors) was trained and certified. And in May 2021, the Coordination Unit of the National Qualifications System (UC-SNQ), jointly with the relevant sector professional association,  launched the implementation of RPL for the qualification Administrative Services and Customer Support (Level 4). On the website of UC-SNQ you can find more on Cape Verde’ RPL, on the NQF and on the National Catalogue of Qualifications.

Cameroon has started an interesting RPL project in higher education which includes a policy and methodological package, training of RPL professionals and practical implementation! RPL in higher education in Cameroon opens up opportunities for people who could not follow and complete formal education, but have relevant experience and the willingness to reengage with learning and certification.

Four different countries, one common goal and interest: to value and give visibility to learning outcomes of workers' professional experience; to turn experience into recognised qualifications, to give employees a new path to better jobs, and to open-up new opportunities for small artisans to access safer business activities in the formal economy. Learning takes place in different contexts, beyond formal education and schooling. RPL contributes to address skills shortages in the labour market and to improve utilisation of human capital.

Other commonalities of these experiences? Yes!

  1. Certificates obtained through RPL have no difference compared with certificates awarded after successful formal learning in training centres;
  2. All qualifications obtained via RPL are quality-assured NQF-qualifications;
  3. RPL is not only a test or assessment - it is about trained and competent RPL professionals, counsellors and facilitators; it is about helping candidates to discover their own skills and experiences and translate them into their own portfolios for the RPL process; it is about credible assessment based on learning outcomes and transparent processes;
  4. RPL is finally getting the acknowledgement it deserves in lifelong systems and in supporting social and professional inclusion of all people.