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saqa.org.za Implementation of the Recognition of Prior Learning : South African Qualifications Authority

Name of the Organization : South African Qualifications Authority
Type of Facility : Guidelines for the Implementation of the Recognition of Prior Learning
Head Office : Pretoria
Website : https://www.saqa.org.za/
Guideline https://www.southafricain.com/uploads/6257-rpl.pdf

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SAQA Implementation of the Recognition of Prior Learning

** This document utilises the six steps and the core criteria for quality assurance as captured in the SAQA RPL policy to develop an implementation guide.

Related / Similar Facility : SAQA Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications

The six steps are :
1) An audit of current practice
2) The development of detailed sector-specific plans
3) Capacity building of resources and staff
4) The design and moderation of appropriate assessment instruments and tools
5) Quality management systems (QMS) and procedures
6) The establishment of a research base

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Two issues were highlighted in particular :
** Regulatory and statutory requirements are still in place which may slow down initiatives to implement RPL, such as the “Matriculation with endorsement” as a prerequisite for entry to higher education, the award of qualifications, and the “50% residency clause”; and
** a lack of a clear subsidy structure for RPL in terms of public institutions, but also with regard to possible funding sources for private providers and workplaces wanting to initiate RPL within their contexts.

This document complements the following SAQA documents in a logical sequence :
** Criteria and Guidelines for Assessment of NQF registered Unit standards and Qualifications; and
** The Recognition of Prior Learning in the context of the South African National Qualifications Framework

Access and admission

** Recruitment of students is almost exclusively focused on school leavers with matriculation exemption.
** Students over the age of 23 may apply for mature-age exemption, but this is done at faculty level and is not part of general admission procedures.

** Students without the option of mature-age exemption, (i.e. learners who have perhaps only completed grade 11/standard 9 (or lower)) currently have no means of admission to suitable programmes by means of proof of equivalent learning through experience.

** Should a learner be admitted without the minimum requirements, such a learner is not eligible for access to any bachelor’s degree programme unless he/she has passed at least four subjects at the Senior Certificate level.
** Also, under present national legislation, a learner is not eligible to be awarded a degree even when the learner has completed the programme of study successfully. At the most, a ‘certificate’ may be awarded.

Administrative Procedures

** On a much more practical level, it has become clear that providers/institutions should look at their administrative processes and the extent to which these inhibit the transcription of credits within their administrative systems.

Consider the University of South Africa (UNISA) example :
** Registration for the RPL000-X module costs two-thirds of the price of one module.
** Registration for the assessment of each module will cost one-third of the price of the module.
** For challenge examinations, only the assessment fee for each module is charged.

In addition, international studies have revealed the following three options for charging of fees :
i. fees based on the time spent to complete the RPL process; or
ii. a common fee irrespective of time spent or the number of credits awarded; or
iii. a fee based on the number of credits applied for and awarded.

Fees For Rpl Services :
** Fees for the delivery and administration of assessment and RPL services do not create barriers for candidates.
** The development of services and programmes is an investment in the lifelong learning approach across all levels and sectors of education and training in South Africa
** Fees should not create barriers for candidates.
** The fees for the assessment of prior learning should be less than the cost for a fulltime module or learning programme.

** Credit-bearing portfolio development or other articulation programmes are made increasingly available to assist candidates in their preparation for assessment, and to qualify for available subsidies for selected skills programmes and learnerships.

** Flexible payment options, in line with the policies and procedures of the ETQA and constituent providers, are available.
** Research and development priorities are identified, including those that investigate costs and cost effectiveness.

Contact Address :
SAQA House
1067 Arcadia Street, Hatfield

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