Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is not a uniquely South African concept. RPL is practiced in most countries in the world, where it is used to help minority groups access the workplace and further educational opportunities. But in South Africa and many other African countries, RPL is about transformation and redress. In South Africa, the promise of RPL is that it will open up access to further education and workplaces that were previously denied to the majority of citizens. But this promise of RPL remains largely unfulfilled. RPL has not been taken to scale in most sectors and there remains what SAQA refers to as “islands of RPL excellence” driven by RPL champions who will not give up.
Dr Karen Deller is one of the South African RPL champions. She has been instrumental in the design and implementation of many large scale RPL projects in southern Africa. She was also the designer of the world-first online RPL portal that Chartall Business College developed in conjunction with BANKSETA to massify RPL in SA. This RPL portal was recognised for its innovation at the third international VPL Biennale conference held in Berlin, Germany in May 2019. International recognition for pioneering RPL work in South Africa.
Other projects that Dr Deller has worked on include those in agriculture, banking, insurance, real estate and management, as well as a four-year longitudinal RPL research project funded by SAQA which resulted in a book published by the HSRC. As Dr Deller teaches you about RPL practices in accordance with the SAQA registered unit standard 116587 [Develop, support and promote RPL practices], she also brings the material to life by relating the theory back to her own research and experiences.
In addition to the practical application and experience that Dr Deller brings to this skills programme, the advocacy section (week 7) has been curated and delivered by John Arneson who was the SAQA Director of the Advocacy, Communication and Support for five years. It was under John’s skilful watch that SAQA developed the initial national RPL advocacy campaign, so you are learning first hand from the person who sketched the blueprint for RPL advocacy in South Africa as way back as 2004 and then again from 2009 when he returned to SAQA after a time back in the corporate world.