HIGHER EDUCATION INTHE ECONOMIC CRISIS: RPL AS A TOOL FOR THE RECOGNITION OF QUALIFICATIONS, STUDENT MOBILITY, UP-SKILLING AND RE-SKILLING
4.3 Data from Round Three
The third round questionnaire was delivered in December 2009 with a total of eighteen respondents.
Respondents were asked about the extent to which RPL was a factor in the re-skilling of workers made redundant. They were asked to answer on a scale from ‘not at all’ (1) to ‘serious commitment’ (4). The majority of answers were for ‘increasing’ (38.9%) and ‘a gesture only’ (27.8%). No respondents found there to be a ‘serious commitment’ to RPL for re-skilling. Additional comments from respondents (27.8%) emphasised the marginal role of RPL in the re-skilling process because it is not fully integrated into policies, because it is more appropriate to assist those who lack formal qualifications to gain access to third-level education than to re-skill, because demand for RPL depends on labour supply (or shortages), and because it is more appropriate to look at the potential of RPL within the context of continuing professional development, as a means to enhance one’s current skill set than to re-skill.
Respondents were also asked to predict the role of RPL for re-skilling workers in the current global economic crisis. These predictions included RPL as a means of access to education and training, as one of several small-scale policy options in the economic crisis, as a means of recognising both experience and qualifications, as a means to facilitate mobility and employability, and as a means to focus on skills, skill gaps and demand.
The final section of Round Three presented respondents with ten RPL policy statements from global, European and National Organisations. These organisations were: UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Council of Europe, World Bank, WTO and GATS (World Trade Organization and General Agreement on Trade in Services), ILO (International Labour Organization, European Commission, EQF (European Qualifications Framework), ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training), NCVER (National Centre for Vocational Education Research), SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority), and NQAI (National Qualifications Authority of Ireland). The organisations chosen in the highest proportions by the panel for each response category are shown in table 5 below. Respondents were asked to comment on the relevance of these for RPL practice from ‘little or no relevance to local RPL practices’ (1) to ‘local RPL informed by this policy ideology’ (4) as well as space for additional comments on each statement. (see Table 5).