Recognition of Prior Learning Academic Credits to Support Lifelong Learning

– Dr. Vipin Khurana

In the present Corona Pandemic and Industry 4.0 times, when few sectors are declining, laying-off employees or
encouraging work from home, while others have difficulties in recruiting the right skilled people; the need for a flexible
workforce in the country arises. Given approx. 90 % informal workforce in the Indian economy; 1.386 billion
population (17.7% of the total world population); the unemployment rate of 5.4 % (Dec 2020); and also the fact
that India occupies just 2.4 % of the total land area of the world; there is a strong immediate need to ensure that
human capital of the country is prepared for opportunities to its best nationally and globally. Besides, In
India, the gross enrolment ratio (GER) was 97.2 % at the Primary Level (ASER, 2018), it Is less than 80 % at the
secondary level and is yet to reach 60 % at the senior secondary. Further, GER is just 26.3 % at Higher Education
Level (AISHE, 2019). Most of these dropouts are either doing their own work or are contributing to the Indian
economy as the informal workforce of the Industry. Upgrading this large segment can benefit the labor market,
formal education, and training, financially, and in terms of self-esteem.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) refers to an assessment process used to evaluate a person's existing skill
sets, knowledge, and experience gained by formal, non-formal, or informal learning. Across the globe, countries
recognize the value of informal and non-formal learning and have established systems to acknowledge skills and
competencies. RPL can benefit India in skilled, up-skilled, re-skilled, and qualified workforce quickly as under:
 RPL can help in Accumulating NSQF aligned academic credits progressively over time with non-formal /
informal learnings and utilizing these in a qualification degree/diploma etc.
 RPL can work as a preventive measure for dropouts: Youngsters drop out for various reasons of family /
personal / pathway not adapted to their learning styles or aspirations. RPL could be used to enable
recognition of at least part of the credit (assessed learning outcomes) achieved in the past so that the
learners do not have to redo everything again.
 RPL as a curative measure for dropouts: Young people who have dropped out for some time, could also
gain credit recognition for what they have learned while informal education and training; this could be
combined with recognition for what they have learned while working, to avoid the possibly de-motivating
effect of having to redo everything.
 RPL as a tool for Vertical Mobility: There is a constant need to upgrade/upskill the qualifications of
employees in many cases. RPL can support such vertical mobility by making it easier to recognize the parts
of qualifications/ skills that the individual(s) hold(s) towards the qualification to be acquired. By using RPL, it
can be possible to shorten the process of achieving a new qualification.
 RPL as a tool for Horizontal Mobility: For progressing from one education and training system to another.
RPL can help in having part or all of the credit they have achieved in the past recognized because of the other
qualification. This would give them access to a program or shorten their education and training path and
enable them not to redo their learnings.
 Structured RPL assessment and certification will provide employee and employer benefits and base for
Lifelong Learning. RPL to recognize learning outcomes for parts of qualifications and to give people the
possibility to achieve the remaining credits of learning outcomes through formal learning.