Recognition Of Prior Learning: Recent Developments and Some Issues

  • Colin Gunn
  • Julie McDougall


Recognition of prior learning (RPL) policies have been in place overseas for up to two decades. The Education Amendment Act (1990) gave the NZQA the responsibility for developing a national qualifications framework in which “there is a flexible system for the gaining of qualifications, with recognition of competency already achieved.” 1993 saw significant developments in the introduction of RPL policies in New Zealand. This paper will review these developments, focusing primarily on New Zealand polytechnics. In particular, it will briefly outline overseas influences on RPL, NZQA policies and actions, and some developments in tertiary institutions in New Zealand. It will define RPL, look at some of the guiding principles in applying RPL policies and look at some ways that these policies may be implemented. The paper will conclude by identifying some of the current issues concerning the introduction of RPL to New Zealand. These will include financial, cultural and equity concerns, staff workloads and other considerations.


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How to Cite
GUNN, Colin; MCDOUGALL, Julie. Recognition Of Prior Learning: Recent Developments and Some Issues. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 3, july 1993. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 27 oct. 2020. doi: