Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a very important function associated with National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). RPL can be defined as the process of recognising previous learning, often experiential, towards gaining a qualification.
RPL is of particular significance in India, especially in the informal sector that employs more than 90% of the workforce (MoSPI 2012). While there is an urgent need for skill-based training for jobs across the country, the absence of sufficient training avenues prevents the existing workforce to acquire skill training through formal channels. As a result, most of the skill acquisition takes place through informal channels such as family occupation, on-the-job training under master craftsman, etc. Reconciling these issues is at the core of RPL framework in India.
Integrating RPL framework within the general and vocational education systems is the need of the hour. RPL will be particularly beneficial for the youth of the country because it can enable individuals to build on skills acquired. RPL can bridge the entry restrictions of the formal training system by providing clear linkages between vocational learning and formal learning. This will not only enable the socio-economic mobility of workers, but will also facilitate professional/educational progression. An outcomes-based approach is integral to the RPL that will recognize skills of workers irrespective of the methods/inputs utilized.