Recognition of Prior Learning: A Journey for Change
April 18, 2024

SANTS Private Higher Education Institute has been running a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme for several years now.  With each student that participates we open the door a little wider to people who may not previously have been able to follow their dream of becoming a teacher.  Part of our programme consists of a ‘bridging’ year whereby the student has the opportunity to fill some vital gaps in their knowledge and to ‘try-out’ the tools of distance learning. Once this bridging year is successfully completed the students can register for either the Bachelor of Education in Foundation Phase teaching or the Bachelor of Education in Intermediate Phase teaching.

It was therefore very heartening to hear from a recent student who was participating in our online Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) workshop, that she was finding her studies enjoyable and easy.  She noted that working through our Curriculum and Learning Guide (CLG) and doing the self-guided activities, had been beneficial.  She stated that she found our CLGS accessible and when asked how she had performed in her recent assessments, she informed us that she had got in the 70s.  This was positive news in an education climate where all too often students are engaging in unethical behaviour, which does not bode well for what they might end up doing in their future classrooms.

When running an online workshop with a student, it rapidly becomes evident how much they appreciate the opportunity and are comfortable to discuss their work with their educators and most importantly, to ask questions on issues that may be of concern.  From the educator’s point of view, it is beneficial to know that one can converse directly with the student and clarify any confusion that could lead to the student not succeeding. In addition, being able to validate the student for the effort she was showing meant that the student emphatically knew that they were on the right path. This particular student was both responsive and positive in her attitude making it all the more important to know that SANTS had given her an opportunity to study further.

Whilst the student is not actively employed as a teacher, she has made sure to volunteer at a local community school thereby having the opportunity to actively practice whilst she is learning.  Like many of our students she is juggling a personal life, running a small business, and volunteering whilst studying. This type of perseverance, is the type of person we want to nurture and put in our challenging South African teaching and learning contexts.

RPL at SANTS is presently what one might term ‘a slow burn’ but with every student that we work with and open the doors of education to, we are confident that a quality educator is in the making.