Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is a process for assessing and formally recognizing people's existing skills and knowledge. These skills may have been obtained through formal or informal training, work experience, voluntary work or life experiences. The term RPL has been used in two slightly different ways in recent times. Discussion influenced by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the project of lifelong learning tends to restrict RPL to the recognition of non-formal and informal learning with the result that the recognition of formal learning is called credit transfer.
More traditional educational discussion uses RPL to include credit transfer and sometimes creates different terms for the narrower sense. Recognition of prior learning is a strong means to recognize and validate competencies obtained outside the formal education and training systems for purposes of certification. The sectors in which RPL can be launched in Ghana include tourism, construction, printing, and plumbing, fitting and welding, dressmaking, hairdressing, beautician and cosmetics, electrical works installation, panel beating, Spray painting, agriculture, carpentry, masonry, roofing and tiling and adult literacy.
A report of the technical committee on the harmonization of competency-based training (CBT) in Ghana, recommended the adoption of policy on the RPL within the context of the TVET qualifications framework. The committee believes that the guidelines and policy will help solve the problem of all prior learning which has not been previously assessed or credit-rated. This will include prior learning achieved through life and work experiences as well as prior leaning gained in less formal context, work-based learning, and continuing professional development. Moreover, developing effective mechanisms for recognizing prior learning is an essential element of the successful implementation of the TVET Qualifications Framework and will also help in the promotion of the life-long learning concept in CBT