Recognition of Prior Learning

Have you ever applied for further studies and seen the term “Recognition of Prior Learning” being used. You might have asked yourself what it means and how it is relevant to you. All Nations Bible Institution & Projects wants to help you understand the term and how it could possibly benefit you.

What Does Recognition of Prior Learning Mean?

In your lifetime you have obtained certain skills, qualifications, knowledge and experiences. These learning experiences could have been officially obtained via a college, university or any other accredited or non-accredited education bodies. You could have also gained this knowledge while at the workplace, doing short courses or compulsory training. Irrespective of where this learning took place, you can use the skills and qualifications you already have to gain credits within formal qualifications offered by various colleges and universities.
Recognition of Prior Learning provides an opportunity for you to identify your learning, have it assessed and formally acknowledged in the form of a qualification.

How does it Work?

The process is simple and straightforward – your skills will be assessed on the skills or knowledge you have, regardless of where and how it was learned. Unlike other forms of assessment, it doesn’t judge someone’s evidence of competence solely by the credentials or qualifications they have achieved, although this can form part of their claim. What RPL actually does is allow people to demonstrate that they are capable of undertaking specific tasks or working in certain industries based on evidence of skills and knowledge gained throughout their life. Anyone can apply for recognition of prior learning and is usually used for:

  • personal development and/or certification of current skills without progression into a learning programme, if the candidate so chooses
  • progression into a learning programme, using RPL to fast-track progression through the learning programme;
  • promotion
  • career or job change

Recognition of Prior Learning in South Africa

South Africa has a nuanced and complex past. Therefore, RPL is a way to widen access and open new pathways into formal education and work-based training offered by learning institutions. Through this past injustices are able to be addressed and rectified. In terms of access, the target group may be under-qualified adult learners with some level of professional education wanting to up-skill and improve their qualifications.

It may also include candidates lacking the minimum requirements for entry into a formal learning programme (e.g. matriculation endorsement). These candidates may be on the shop floor, in workplaces, or may be semi-skilled and unemployed. They may have worked for many years and have gained experience in specific areas, but were prevented from developing and growing because of the education and training policies of the past.

The Benefits of RPL

Recognition of Prior Learning is useful to everyone including both employers and students. The benefits of RPL include:

  1. Facilitates access for ‘non-traditional’ students – people who may not have had the opportunity to do further study.
  2. Acknowledges value of learning outside a formal setting, e.g. values and recognises learning in the workplace.
  3. Validates the worth of learning students have achieved by themselves.
  4. Enables students to progress to other education and training programmes.
  5. Eliminates unnecessary repetition and duplication of material already familiar to the student.
  6. Shortens the time necessary to earn a qualification – this motivates students who might otherwise be discouraged by the length of time required to
  7. efficient identification of ‘skills gaps’ allowing for more focused training.

How Much Does it Cost?

Fees for RPL services and assessment should not cost more than a full-time face-to-face programme or distance learning, particularly if such services are integrated into the existing infrastructure.

The cost of developing a system and the necessary capacity to support the system, are not unlike the costs of developing a new learning programme. This means that the initial start-up costs may be relatively high, but increasingly, with learners entering such a programme, the costs are reduced and spread over a period of time.

The challenge is to develop programmes and services where one-on-one contact with a candidate is kept to the minimum. RPL does not mean that each candidate must be dealt with only on an individual basis. In principle, RPL should be more cost-effective for candidates, employers and employees by reducing the cost of training in terms of those parts of the qualification for which the candidate already meets the requirements.

Guideline for Application for Recognition of Prior Learning

If you have studied similar courses previously, or have relevant work experience, you can apply for RPL with the All Nations Bible Institution & Projects. Applications must be based on NQF registered qualifications and need to be submitted with the following documentation:

  • NQF level or non-formal training.
  • SAQA or non SAQA qualification.
  • Together with current relevant work experience.

How to apply for RPL with All Nations Bible Institution & Projects

Step 1: Apply for Recognition of Prior Learning on the application provided.
Step 2: Pay the RPL application fee of R2500
Step 3: Email the following documents to All Nations Bible Institution & Projects.

Documents required for review:

  • Copy of your payment deposit slip / proof of payment.
  • Official copies of your previous course results (transcript of results), obtained from a registered/accredited or non – accredited training provider Note:
  • A detailed CV explaining your work experience and including references from relevant jobs
  • A copy of your ID book
  • A letter from your Manager/Supervisor confirming work experience (if applicable)
  • Copy of qualifications

Step 4: Review Process: Once All Nations Bible Institution & Projects Exemptions Review Board has reviewed your application, which can take up to 6 weeks, they will write to you with their decision. You could receive specific subject’s exemptions or even a full qualification exemption.

Full Exemption granted if All Nations Bible Institution & Projects recognises your previous studies and grants you credit for equivalent subjects.

  • Conditional exemption granted. This means you don’t qualify for the full exemption but can submit more evidence without having to write an exam. You will however, be required to complete a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) assessment provided by All Nations Bible Institution to prove your competency that particular degree level.

If you are assessed as ‘exempt’, you will get full exemption.

Step 5: Compulsory Student Registration: In order to accept any exemptions granted, you will need to be a registered learner of All Nations Bible Institution & Projects.

In short, RPL is fantastic to get a qualification without having to start from scratch. You can be recognised for all your hard work over the years and get a recognised qualification.

When submitting application for RPL, proof of payment of R2500 and all documentation required must be submitted to:

Professor Dannyboy Pieterse
President & Academic Dean
Email Address:

RPL application form can be downloaded here or from the website under FORMS

Please take note, when a qualification is achieved via RPL it won’t mention RPL on the qualification.

You can apply for RPL to any level of qualification you think you qualify for