Mauritius: The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Support Scheme, a process to officially recognise and validate competencies gained outside the formal education and training system for the purpose of certification, was renewed yesterday, between the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) and the Mauritius Qualifications Authority (MQA), during a ceremony held at the Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Tower, in Ebène. The event was followed by a workshop on Portfolio Development for 100 new potential candidates.
The Vice-Prime Minister (VPM), Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun; the Minister of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training. Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Soodesh Satkam Callichurn; the Director of HRDC, Dr Rajcoomar Auckloo; the Director of the MQA, Dr Robin Phoolchund; and other personalities were present.
Under the RPL Support Scheme, the HRDC funds a Facilitation Fee of Rs 5,000 and an Assessment Fee of Rs 6,000 per candidate, whereby the MQA sponsors 75% of the processing fee, resulting in the candidates disbursing only Rs 500.
In her address, Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun highlighted that this event is a joint collaboration of the HRDC and the MQA in their quest to widen access to valued qualifications through the recognition of Prior Learning. “This quest is all the more legitimate and worthwhile when you become mindful of the emergence of new institutions in the technical vocational and skills development sector,” she pointed out.
Moreover, the VPM indicated that such consideration necessitates a joining of forces and inter-institutional collaboration, as when institutions come together and work together to achieve a common goal, greater productivity and efficiency are the inevitable end results.
The main objective of this incentive scheme, she underscored, is to widen the reach of RPL to individuals who have substantial work experience in a sector of the economy, as well as to self-employed individuals but not hold any formal qualification in their respective field of work.
In addition, she spoke of the importance of these kinds of schemes due to a constantly evolving working system, where new skills are required for adaptation. This RPL Support Scheme, the VPM stressed, is a way of giving a second chance to youths and people in need of upskilling to enter the evolving working system.
For his part, Minister Callichurn indicated that this event marks the launching of the RPL Support Scheme and Portfolio Development Workshop for a second cohort of candidates. “This launching represents a significant milestone in further boosting Government’s policy to promote inclusivity in skills development and capacity building,” he pointed out.
Recognition of Prior Learning, the Minister underlined, is globally being used as a transformative tool to foster lifelong learning for those individuals who have gained knowledge, skills and competencies outside the formal education and training systems but are not duly recognised and certified to practice.
“The RPL process can help these individuals acquire a formal qualification that matches their knowledge and skills and thereby contribute to improving their employability and lifelong learning,” he added.
Furthermore, Minister Callichurn remarked that according to the International Labour Organisation, people who do not have recognised qualifications face major obstacles in getting decent jobs and income, migrating to other regions and accessing further education, even though they might have the necessary knowledge and skills. “It is in this context that the Government’s approach to capacity building is driven by its vision to promote national resilience,” he said.
This endeavour, Mr Callichurn emphasised, would ensure that competencies accumulated through formal and non-formal experiences are treated equally. “An empowered and adequately skilled workforce is critical for the success of the country, and employers, on the other hand, are able to access proof of skilled personnel, and better match them with suitable jobs,” he added.
As for the Director of the HRDC, he pointed out that through the RPL certification, individuals from various job roles who have built their skills through informal and on-the-job training will be empowered and given due recognition for their skill sets.
The Director of the MQA, for his part, stressed the critical function of the Authority in its quest to ensure that the concept of learning and training everywhere, anytime, is fully imbued in our education and training landscape.