Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) – let your work experience and or certificates open doors for you to study or get a qualification at Milpark!


by Servaas de Kock and Elmaré van der Westhuizen.


Many of our bankers started immediately after matric to work in a local bank branch. Through hard work and dedication, they worked their way up through the different positions and functions to become over time managers or senior managers in branches, regional offices or even in head-office.

During their banking career, they attended many inhouse courses and some even completed various short courses or management development programmes at universities or business schools.

Although many of these bankers have all the attributes and traits of a very successful banker – and they are indeed very successful, but something is missing…. their highest academic qualification is still matric on a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 4. Why? The reason is that all the internal banking courses, short courses and development programmes is, as we call it, non-credit bearing. This means that one receives no official qualification, but merely a certificate or a certificate of attendance.

Not many people are aware of the process or opportunity to enhance their studies and or qualifications. Recognition of Prior Learning however makes this possible.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) “means the principles and processes through which the prior knowledge and skills of a person are made visible, mediated and assessed for the purposes of alternative access and admission, recognition and certification, or further learning and development.” (SAQA, 2014).                                                                               

RPL may be applied at any level of learning and at any NQF level.

There are two main forms of RPL that reflect the different purposes and processes within which RPL takes place:

  1. RPL for access: To provide an alternative access route into a learning programme for those who do not meet the formal entry requirements for admission. RPL for access applies to learning programmes offered by all accredited institutions of further learning (including a post-school institution and an adult learning centre) or workplace-based training provider;
  2. RPL for credits: To provide for the awarding of credits for, or towards, a qualification or part qualification registered on the NQF.

In both cases, the RPL processes may take place at a diagnostic, formative or summative point, or in-curriculum to create opportunities for advanced standing or recognition of learning in the workplace.

The following principles are important elements of a holistic approach to RPL:

  • The focus is on what has been learnt and not on the status of the institution, organisation or place where the learning was obtained.
  • Credit is awarded for knowledge and skills acquired through experience and not for experience alone.
  • Prior learning is made explicit through assessment and/or other methods that engage the intrinsic development of knowledge, skills and competencies acquired
  • Candidate guidance and support, the preparation of evidence and the development of an appropriate combination of further teaching and learning, mentoring and assessment approaches are core to RPL practice. (SAQA, 2014)

Milpark prides itself in the recognition of prior learning (RPL) in an attempt to show appreciation for informal or formal learning that has already taken place, and with this create wider access, open up new opportunities, as well as create shorter and more affordable routes to a formal qualification. For the Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in banking on an NQF level 8 specifically, we will consider admission for non-degreed candidates with longstanding banking experience at the right level.

The advantage of RPL for credit is that students are not forced to go through an entire study and assessment process in cases where they are already displaying the competencies on a daily basis. This saves time and costs for the student and the bank, in appropriate circumstances.

Now is the time to contact Milpark Education and discuss the possibilities and opportunities of starting your studies.  The PGD in Banking through the RPL process is the shortest route to not only a formal qualification, but also even a postgraduate qualification equal to an honours degree. Do not hesitate – contact us now!



de Kock S, and Hargarter A, 2019. Evaluating the success of students admitted via RPL (recognition of prior learning) for access on the Milpark Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Banking Qualification (NQF 8). Milpark Internal study and unpublished article.  Cape Town.


SAQA. 2014. RPL conference: book of abstracts. SAQA: Pretoria.

13 Feb 2020