Legal foundations to provide for the national RPL system in South Africa
Objective: to consider briefly, the legal foundations that provide for the national Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) system in South Africa
Rationale: RPL is integral to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in South Africa; it is used to enhance access, redress, and progression in learning-and-work pathways within a culture of lifelong learning in the country.
Summary of presentation: The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in line with its mandate, developed RPL policy in 2002, and Criteria and Guidelines in 2004. RPL was implemented from the 1990s. By 2008, there were 'islands of good practice' (OECD, 2008); in 2010 and 2011 SAQA hosted national RPL workshops to bridge these islands and work towards a fully national RPL system. Following the resulting 'Resolution and Working Document', SAQA's RPL policy was revised to provide for effective RPL delivery and quality assurance. A Ministerial RPL Task Team was established to address legal barriers; its work led to the establishment of the National RPL Coordinating Mechanism. The three Quality Councils which oversee the three articulated NQF Sub-Frameworks in South Africa develop NQF Sub-Framework RPL policy, which must be aligned to SAQA's policy, and the policy for the Coordination and Funding of RPL. This presentation covers the contents of the five aligned sets of RPL policies, what they enable, and some challenges experienced.
About Joe SamuelsCountry
South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)
Joe Samuels has been appointed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for SAQA as from 1 March 2012 until February 2017. He was offered another 5 year term from 1 March 2017 until 28 February 2022.
He holds a BSc (Hons) and an MPhil from the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. He is a specialist in Educational Policy and Education Change, Qualifications Frameworks, Standards Setting, Quality Assurance and Adult and Community Education.
He worked in a medical laboratory, as a teacher, a Physiology Lecturer (UWC) and as the Coordinator: Continuing Education Programmes at the Centre for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE) at the UWC for 10 years prior to joining SAQA. He was the Director for Standards Setting and Development before he was promoted to the position of Deputy Executive Officer which he held for 7 years before his next promotion to the CEO position. He has been working at SAQA for the past 20 years.
Joe organised and participated in many national and international seminars and conference where he delivered various papers, covering topics like the role of National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF), the generation of qualifications and standards, quality assurance within education and training, the integration of education and training, human rights and the NQF and NQFs/RQFs in the SADC region, on the African continent and globally.
Recently he served as the chairperson of the UNESCO drafting team of the Addis Convention, a document on the recognition of foreign qualifications that allows for the movement of learners, academics and workers across borders, that was adopted by 54 African States in December 2014. He has served as an expert on the Unesco panel of experts for the development of the Global Convention of the Recognition of Qualifications for Higher Education and for Level Descriptors and World Reference Levels (WRL).