All you ever wanted to know about Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

About this guide

This guide will help you to know where you are in the process you are and what you can expect from a Recognition of Prior Learning process.

What is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

Recognition of prior learning aims to provide a pathway for learners to recognise the skills, knowledge and experience gained through life with the aim of providing access or certifying that the skills that a person gained is in line with a specific qualification.

The reality is that few learning providers are well equipped to provide a suitable RPL service, which is why QuickRPL provides this service to learners and learning providers. We assist with simplifying the very complex requirements of educational compliance for both the learner and the learning provider.

I heard you can get a degree without studying?

It is possible to show that you have the required skills and experience to complete a qualification, without having to attend a formal classroom.

To put together the evidence for such a process can often take a long time - so be prepared that there is work. For some qualifications, there is also the requirement for a summative assessment (i.e. an exam) - so sometimes you are required to prove you know what you believe you know.

It is also important to note that there are different types of RPL and only 50% of an RPL can be obtained through exemptions and to get a full degree at most degree granting institutions is an arduous and drawn out process.

We focus on providing qualifications that are relatively easy to achieve, with learning partners that are willing to assist, with the aim of enabling individuals to advance their careers and enable the improvement of their learning certification.

Do I qualify for RPL?

There are three types of RPL namely:
  • RPL for ADMISSION into a qualification;
  • RPL for EXEMPTION from modules in a qualification; and
  • RPL for AWARD of a qualification.
We offer a service of assessing if you qualify for one of these types of RPL through the Quick Assessment. From this assessment we advise if you qualify for one of these types of RPL and recommend a programme or programmes for you to apply for.
  • If you qualify for ADMISSION - we advise you on which institutions are likely to take your application based on their policy.
  • If you qualify for EXEMPTION - we advise on which qualification is likely to give you the highest number of exemptions and assist with the application process.
  • If you are likely to qualify for AWARD we assist in putting together a portfolio against the qualifications that will qualify you and we then work to get the maximum recognition of prior learning. You may have to complete additional modules, depending on the rules of the specific institution or qualification. We advise you on this before you start so that you know what the implication is of your decisions.

What is the RPL process?

The RPL process has a number of steps. Decide if you want a Quick Assessment or if you want to go through the complete process for a qualification because you qualify against the criteria.

  • You complete all the information that you can on this system. This is the first step.
  • You pay for the service of the application being evaluated.
  • We then present your application to a range of academic institutions and academics that evaluate the evidence that you have submitted.
  • The academic, in the discipline for which you have applied, looks at the evidence you have presented against the outcomes of the qualification.
  • Based on this evidence they have seen that you will be able to get at least some recognition for a module or modules in the qualification.
  • We give you a report on the credits achieved
  • For modules that are not complete you may be requested to complete evidence online

FAQ – How many modules will I get exempted from having to do?

You apply for recognition of the effort that has gone into your work to date.

You will see the requirement in credits for the experience you have to show on the qualification criteria.

The RPL equation is thus a recognition of the effort you have spent in a specific subject to date. The evidence must show how you get to the claim that you have the required experience in a field.

For the Quick Assessment - we look if there is obvious evidence that you have experience in a specific area through your CV.

In the full RPL, we are essentially constructing a portfolio of evidence with you that proves you have the required work experience.

If you did not have enough work or academic experience in your original submission, we would have informed you that you are not a candidate for RPL. The preliminary verification only looks to see if there is a case for RPL. It doesn’t look to see specifics. Only once the real RPL process commences and the Portfolio of Evidence is thoroughly investigated will the number of modules for which you are exempted become known.

Next Step?

In order for the true RPL process to commence you need to register, select your qualification, provide evidence and make payment.

You can print a quote with banking details from the system. You can either pay online, pay the amount into the account or you let your advisor know that you need a student loan. Altovation has agreements with service providers and they can assist you in getting a student loan. Please give us a call if you need to make other arrangements.

The finances are sorted out, what happens now?

Technology now comes into play. You will upload all your evidence to the QuickRPL system including proof of competence against the specific modules or learning outcomes of your desired qualification. Once you have loaded all your proof you submit and your profile with all the info gets sent for assessment.

What type of evidence can I use to prove competence in a module or learning outcome?

Whatever you can upload to show that you are competent in a module will be considered as long as it is verifiable. If you say that you attended a course, we should be able to contact the place where you attended. If you say that you can do something, then we need to be able to prove that you can do it through evidence.

There are several options open to an individual to prove competence. Here are some examples:


  • Having done the module or achieved the learning outcome academically, then you can upload the academic record proving that.
  • You may possibly have dealt with a situation during your working life for which you are able to upload proof. An example can be project that you have done which you can upload.
  • In some instances, you are even able to upload a statement from a line manager or work superior stating that you have dealt with a situation in this context and are therefor competent.
  • If you get stuck you can reach out to your advisor who can in some instances arrange a test or possibly a panel interview by subject matter experts who will interview you to ascertain competence. This may incur additional costs.

How much recognition can I expect?

The qualification that you applied for has a maximum recognition level. This is either 50%, 80% or 100%. In each case, that is the maximum that you can expect and is governed by education law in South Africa. Higher Education qualifications (NQF 5 and above) is typically a maximum of 50%. (There are exceptions, speak to your advisor if you are unsure) The remainder of the 50% you can do with a recognized institution, which we will advise you on, seeing that we have prior arrangements with these institutions to recognize your RPL done through Altovation.

How much will this cost me in total?

There is a fixed fee of R 500 (incl VAT) for the Quick Assessment. We will give you a result within a week and usually quicker. This will give a report that recommends what to do in your specific situation, based on your CV. You have no further obligation to engage with anyone around this.

There is a fixed fee of R 500 (incl VAT) for assistance with the preparation of exemption application Admission Prep. We will give you a result within a week and usually quicker. This will give a report that highlights how you perform according to a specific qualification that you want to enter. This can then be submitted with your application to the institution. You have no further obligation to engage with anyone around this.

Should you wish to proceed with a full RPL there is a price for assessment which is generally quoted on the qualification itself.

For qualifications in which you can achieve 100% RPL, the RPL Cost is usually about R 13 500 (incl VAT).


For qualifications in which you can achieve 50% RPL, the RPL Cost is about R 9 000 (incl VAT) and these are usually with higher education institutions.


We pay a large part of this to the academics that assess the evidence

At the conclusion of the RPL process we will give you options on how to complete the modules which you were not RPL’d for.


The scenarios are as follows:

  • If you receive recognition for only a few modules then we will quote you for the complete qualification as well as showing you the fees required to complete modules individually. Because your qualification is now less expensive, you would not have paid extra for RPL. So, the total cost will be less than the qualification cost.
  • You can get no RPL in which case we will quote for a complete qualification which would be between R 37,500 and R 55,000 per annum, depending on which qualification you chose. In this case, your existing RPL fee will be put towards your qualification fees. This means that you will not lose because you did an RPL.
  • It is not obligatory to do the qualification, after the RPL. If you choose not to complete, then the total cost is the RPL process.

Can I resubmit once I have submitted?

It is in your interest to submit as much information as possible initially. Once you complete the submit process in the application, your data is sent to a verifier that reviews the specific evidence that you have supplied. A report is generated on the evidence that you submitted up to that point. If you have a lack of evidence, when submitting, then this will lead to a low RPL score. If you have sufficient evidence, this will improve your RPL score.


Every submission is evaluated and should it be found that further clarification is required on the evidence the assessor will make contact.


If you wish to complete a new evaluation, which happens when you want to submit the same evidence to another qualification, or when you want to re-evaluate based on substantively new evidence, then this will be considered as a new RPL application.

What do I get at the conclusion of the process?

You are given a report indicating which modules or learning outcomes you have been found competent in. If you have been found competent in all the modules or learning outcomes for a Maximum 100% RPL (R 12 100) then you get issued the full qualification. If there is a need to go through another process to get the RPL, with the specific provider, it will be included in the price.


Should you need to do any modules to get the qualification, we will give you a list of the modules and the service provider that offers it. The RPL certificate that you have received, will be sufficient information for exemption of the modules that have been RPL’d. The RPL price does not include the price of the additional modules that you may have to complete.

Which institution will issue my qualification?

To give you the best possibility of success your portfolio is submitted to several providers to see where we get the best results. Only once the actual RPL process is completed are we able to say which institution will issue the qualification or offer the outstanding modules. We work with a number of institutions and training providers including Damelin, Lyceum, UFS, EmergenceGrowth, Training Force.

Should I not go to my preferred institution directly?

We live in a free world. Our service is to help you put everything together, to work with willing institutions that can help you achieve a qualification in as a fast a time as possible and to guide you honestly through a maze of requirements. For that we charge a fee. Many of our clients contact us after having paid exorbitant amounts to start qualifications that they never completed. We help you to complete as best possible.

Can I submit this RPL certificate to any institution?

We provide a verification number on the RPL certificate that allows for an authorised institution to validate this information for the purposes of RPL in accordance with their academic policies. Not all institutions have progressive RPL policies and we cannot guarantee that providers that are not part of our network will give you reduced fees for the modules that are exempted. We will contact any institution on request to determine if they will accept the required items, on your behalf.


All qualifications that we offer RPL in is backed by accredited providers in our network that recognize the RPL that is provided here. You can complete the modules with them for which recognition was not granted. This means that following this process can ensure that you complete a fully recognized qualification that will be registered on the National Learner Record Database, in accordance with all the required legislation, should you be successful in completing your modules.


Will my information be safe?

Your information is secure, encrypted and only accessible to authorized personnel. Audit logs are kept of all access to information. Servers are hosted in secure locations by top hosting companies, ensuring both physical and logical security. We will not sell your information and you will not receive spam mail from us.

Next Step:

Contact Us

Altovation Consulting (Pty) Ltd
Observatory, Johannesburg
Gauteng, 2198
P: (082) 334-8287 E:

About Us was born from a desperate need for people to understand how Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) works.

Today it is a whole system to manage learning and portfolios of evidence, trusted by learners and educational institutions.