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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


HLONGWANE, Ike. Compliance with legislative framework in implementing recognition of prior learning (RPL) by South African library and information science (LIS) schools. Journal of Education [online]. 2019, n.75, pp.77-88. ISSN 2520-9868.

RPL is defined broadly as the principles and processes through which prior experiences, knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired outside the formal learning programme are recognised and assessed for purposes of certification, alternative access and admission, and further learning and development (South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) 2013). In this paper, I highlight the importance of an enabling environment in the development and implementation of RPL in library and information science (LIS) in South Africa. The SAQA RPL policy (2002) makes it explicit that "an enabling environment" (p. 18) demonstrating commitment to RPL is essential. It is evident from the document that unless proper policies, structures, and resources are allocated to a credible assessment process, it can easily become an area of contestation and conflict. In my study, I adopted a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods which involved the use of questionnaires and document analysis to collect data. I found that there are islands of good practice in terms of compliance with the legislative framework in implementing RPL in South African LIS schools. I recommend, among other things, that the Department of Higher Education (DHE) together with the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and SAQA conduct regular monitoring and evaluation processes of RPL implementation in LIS schools to encourage compliance with prevailing legislative frameworks. Further, periodic RPL accreditation processes could also be used to great effect to ensure that LIS schools comply, failing which, their accreditation to offer RPL services could be reviewed. This will help create an enabling environment, which is a prerequisite for an effective and credible recognition of the RPL process.

Keywords : Recognition of prior learning (RPL); legislative framework for RPL; library and information science (LIS) schools; South Africa; South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA); RPL policy.

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