The 'nuts and bolts' of prior learning assessment in the Faculty of Education of the University of Pretoria, South Africa
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In South Africa the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) was conceptualised to address issues of social justice. The concept intended to increase the participation rate of historically disadvantaged groups in higher education and to improve the knowledge and skills base of the workforce in pursuit of global competitiveness. The conceptualisation, however, does not imply that such
intentions are actually realised at the level of practice. The system of prior learning assessment needs to meet national and international requirements, which are central to the assessment process. This means having a policy environment conducive to RPL provisioning. The assessment of this area of practice in the Faculty of Education of the University of Pretoria affirmed that if certain basic requirements, as indicated by various authoritative figures in the area of prior learning assessments, are in place, then RPL can become a reality, enabling the marginalised to access higher education. Results from interviews, document analysis and notes from a reflective journal assisted in determining the institutional policy and environment for RPL provisioning in this faculty. Participants included senior managers and lecturers involved in RPL assessments.