Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL, as it is known, can be best defined as a simple process of assessing an individual’s skills or knowledge, no matter where or how they were acquired. The assessment of competence is not done only on the basis of qualifications, although it is a part of the process, nor is place of work, age, gender or attributes, a part of it. What it does is allow a demonstration of capability at specific tasks in certain industries based on skills and knowledge acquired in life. RPL, therefore, can be defined as the process of acknowledging previous learning, usually experiential, in gaining a qualification. It is a very important function associated with NSQF (National Skills Qualification Framework).
Benefits of the Integration of RPL with the Educational System:
Integration of the RPL framework with the general vocational learning system is actually the need of the hour especially so for the youth of the country since it enables one to build on the skills acquired through experience.
Some key benefits would be:
- Helps in building skills acquired through experience
- Can bridge entry restrictions of the formal training systems
- Provides clear links between vocational learning and formal learning
- Facilitates educational progression
- Makes learning outcomes-based and grants recognition to skills irrespective of methods used for learning
- Helps explore different options in skilling and upskilling to bridge knowledge gaps
Advantages to Industries:
Industries have a dual advantage:
- Formally recognised skill levels are mapped with job roles
- It opens up different paths for workers to upskill and grow through short-term bridge courses
RPL assesses prior knowledge and skills of individuals and certifies them.
The objectives of RPL are:
- Aligning the competencies and skills of the unregulated sectors with the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF)
- Provide more options for higher education and enhance chances of employment
- Reducing inequalities present caused by privileges given to select skills and knowledge over others.
RPL is of special significance and importance in India especially in the informal sector which accounts for more than 90% of the workforce (MoSPI 2012). It is a key element under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) which is aimed at imparting skill-based training to 1 crore people in 2016-2020. RPL will assess and certify about 40 lakh people based on prior experience and skills in the coming years.