Recognition of Prior Learning: Are We Bridging the Gap between Policy and Practice in the Workplace?
AbstractThe study examines the implementation of recognition of prior learning (RPL) in the workplace, its effectiveness and impact on improving the lives of the previously disadvantaged groups and its contribution towards enhancing a culture of lifelong learning in South Africa. The Northern Region of the Eskom Distribution was used as a case for the purposes of this study. The study adopted a mixed method research approach in which a questionnaire was administered to a randomly selected sample of 242 employees. In addition, interviews were conducted with three purposively selected (information rich) participants. The findings reveal that Eskom has policies and guidelines on RPL and a clearly stipulated purpose which is in line with the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), however, the current RPL policies and procedures have not been piloted within the Northern Region, the information has not yet reached everyone in the business, and employees’ level of awareness is still low. Findings also reveal that RPL does exist in Distribution and efforts to implement it are traceable. A number of milestones and achievements are noted in the business as a whole as well as in the region, although a lot still needs to be done to ensure full and effective implementation. The last finding shows that there are a number of gaps and challenges impeding the success of RPL. These range from capacity building to quality assurance. On the basis of the findings, a number of recommendations to strengthen the RPL practice in the workplace are proposed and suggested.
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