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National Workshop on Strategy

Planning for Implementing RPL

for Informal Sector

(Jointly hosted by NSDA & NIOS)

24 April 2014
Room No 707 Conference Room , (7th Floor )
NIOS A 24/25 Sector 62 NOIDA
India has set a huge target of training 500 especially in the Indian context where majority
million people by 2022, which requires of the workforce has not received formal
programs that are scalable, replicable and training. The NSQF will help individuals who
accessible. A large portion of the employment have gained learning informally, such as
would occur in the lower segment of the skill through life, work and voluntary activities to
pyramid. Predominance of unorganized have this learning recognized.
employment has been one of the central
features of the labor market scenario in India. RPL will give an option for personal or career
The unorganized sector is heterogeneous in development or to gain credit towards other
nature and cuts across all economic activities qualifications or learning programs to learners
in rural and urban areas. The sector is who have the skills but no certificate to prove
dominated by workers employed in micro it. It will help learners make clearer
enterprises, casual laborers, migrant laborers, connections between the learning they have
farmers and artisans in rural areas. These already achieved and future learning.
groups constitute the bottom of the skill Benchmarking an individuals learning against
pyramid with relatively low skills, poor the NSQF Level Descriptors will help them to
productivity and low income. identify the appropriate level of options for
Skill development for bridging the widening
skill gap has become a priority in India. About RPL is a tool that can assist such individuals to
90% of the jobs in India are reportedly skill build on what they have already attained in
based and require vocational training. The order to progress still further. It is essentially a
current skill development initiatives of various form of assessment, but aimed at people who
government ministries and departments are do not come to assessment after a period of
focused on organized sector workers. formal training. Using methods specific to this
Furthermore, initiatives for the organized target population, RPL can identify the skills
sector have gained momentum over the last they have and the gaps in their skill sets; and it
few years due to rapid advancement in the can give them formal recognition of the former
countrys manufacturing and services sector. which they can use to access further training.
On the other hand, there is no robust skill With the notification of the NSQF, NSDA has
development framework for the unorganized decided to take up pilot projects in select
sector, due to which a majority of workers sectors for RPL, along with NIOS and other
employed in the sector lack any kind of formal important stakeholders. Against this backdrop
skill development training. a National level Consultative Workshop was
Around 85% of the workforce in the
unorganized sector does not imbibe any form Workshop Objectives:
of skill development, formal or informal. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)
formal training system poses entry restrictions and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA)
in terms of minimum education requirements, organized a consultative National workshop on
which makes it inaccessible especially for Strategy planning for implementing RPL for
workforce in rural non-farm sectors. Most of Informal Sector workers on 24.4.2014 to
the skill formation in the unorganized sector develop an action plan for implementing RPL in
takes place through informal channels such as the Indian context
family occupation, on-the-job training under The objectives of the consultative workshop
master craftsman with no linkages to formal were as below:
education training and certification. 1. To understand the conceptual framework
related to assessment and validation of the
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a very prior learning;
important associated function of the NSQF,
2. To gather International experiences on Mr. J.P. Rai (Director General, NSDA) in his
assessing prior learning in the context of opening remarks stated that RPL is an integral
developing labour force and education at component of the National Skills Qualification
all levels; Framework (NSQF). He highlighted the
3. To gather the Indian experience from relevance of RPL in India- where around 85%
various stakeholders who have been of the unorganized workforce does not imbibe
engaged in RPL in India till date any form of formal skill development. He also
4. To find out concern and issues related to stressed on the need to recognize the pre-
related to assessment of prior learning and existing skills of the workforce and recognize
linking the same with the further learning previous learning (often experiential) towards
continuum in a training and education set gaining a qualification. Mr. Rai raised some
up; pertinent questions through the course of his
5. To develop an action plan on RPL execution presentation such as:
in the context of skill development and Supposed benefits of RPL
within the framework of NSQF in India; Funding the RPL exercise will the cost
6. To identify institutional responsibilities, vis--vis benefit encourage
including industries, on assessment and beneficiaries to pay for the
validation of the prior learning experiences certification?
in the context of developing empowered Modalities for recognizing and
workforce. certifying prior learning?
Will it vary from sector to
MINUTES OF THE MEETING How do we determine what
process for each sector?
SESSION I What role can the open
schooling system play?
Dr. S.S. Jena (Chairman, NIOS) provided a Issues related to bridging knowledge
background to the development of the RPL when, how and at whose cost?
framework by NIOS. He observed that while Process for conducting pilot studies (4-
skills of unorganized workers should be 5 sectors) and which sectors?
assessed through RPL frameworks, the Terms of reference for these
assumption that certification may lead to pilots
higher pay needs to be tested. Since RPL is in Test assumptions related to
its nascent stage in India, he was of the view RPL
that the next course of action should be Will certification result
deliberated upon during the workshop. Dr. in improved working
Jena raised questions pertaining to the conditions and
potential benefits of RPL certification, bargaining power?
especially factoring into account the costs Willingness of
involved. Some of the other issues raised by informally trained
Dr. Jena were as follows: persons to opt for RPL
Next step for the assessment, validation
and certification for the workers in the
Opportunity costs involved for daily-
wage workers. 1. Ms Bhardwaj (Pearsons U.K.) presented a
Selection of sectors for the RPL pilot- brief background of vocational education
studies. landscape in the UK. The SQA is the designated
apex authority for vocational education. All
awarding bodies in the UK (130

approximately) follow the policies and funded and has been in practice since early
procedures laid down by the above-mentioned 8os. Furthermore, bridge course for
authoritiy. The assesses is viewed and referred teaching/training on gap areas is also funded
to as a learner under the UK model. The by state. She attributed mandatory licenses by
framework is designed to be a trust-based professional bodies for working in UK as one
model in which internal evaluation is given the key factors behind RPL enrolment. Ms.
preference by the institution. Furthermore, the Bhardwaj emphasized that one of the key
learner is usually attached to a learning successes of the system is that RPL learners are
programme/institution at the time of treated at par with mainstream learners.
registration thereby making it more inclusive
in the mainstream learning process. 2. Ms. Melanie Chapman (NIOS New
RPL stages in U.K. Zealand) began with a brief overview of the
Stage 1- Information, Awareness and education system in New Zealand- which has
Guidance: is normally provided to training been rated sixth on the Human Development
provider, candidate, institution etc. This is a Indices (2013). This Index measures both the
well-documented process that has to be adult literacy rate and participation in the
completed within specified timelines. Support education system from pre-school through to
is extended to the learners at this stage by postgraduate education. New Zealand is also
analyzing the credits that he/she may have to ranked high in international assessments of
complete to fulfill certification criteria. technical and vocational education and training
Stage 2- Pre-assessment: This entails (TVET)- with the second highest entry rates
evidence gathering by the learner. and fifth highest achievement rates.
Administrable evidence includes employer In the 1990s, New Zealand introduced TVET
verification and/or endorsement, portfolio, etc. changes in response to economic restructuring.
Each learner is prescribed an assessment plan The emphasis of tertiary education sector
or tracking document. All evidence collected at reforms included stronger links between
this stage must meet the standards prescribed industry and labour market training policies,
by the certifying agency. establishment of industry training
Stage 3- Assessment: Being a trust- organizations (ITOs) and a coordinated
based model, the assessment is carried out by national qualifications system, with the new
the institution internally. If the evidence is national qualifications body working with
found to be valid, transparent and reliable then industry to develop National occupational
the learner is provided with requisite standards across all vocational areas.
certification. External assessment is resorted to While apprenticeships were an established
only in exceptional cases. In such instances model in some trades, the 1990s reforms
industry experts are usually invited as enabled a blended model of on-job and off-job
assessors. training across a broad number of industries.
Stage 4- Certification Claims: The The ITOs played an important role of managing
training centre, on behalf of the student, makes the relationships between industry, provider
the certification claim with the certifying and learners to ensure consistency, quality and
agency. Post-formal registration, the RPL learner success.
records are collected and maintained along New Zealand officially views RPL and
with assessment records of the learner by the assessment against designated learning
certifying institution. outcomes or standards as equal. An NZQA 2003
Stage 5- Appeals: If RPL Application of a report says that an important principle of the
learner is rejected, he/she can appeal against National Qualifications Framework is that
the decision. skills, knowledge and understanding gained
Ms. Kajari observed that RPL is time outside formal education or training will be
consuming, expensive and mostly used at entry recognised.
level. The framework RPL in UK is publicly

The main variables for RPL in New Zealand are mindsets, especially educators, to recognize
the methods of assessment and the extent to the validity of the process takes time.
which an institution will use RPL. For example While RPL for trades is a logical extension of
some institutions have policies where only up effective workplace assessment practices in NZ,
to 80% of a qualification can be awarded by a lot more thought needs to be given to support
RPL. In NZ, RPL is more commonly and mechanism for assesses in the RPL process. Ms.
extensively used across ITPs and ITOs that use Chapman indicated that multimedia guidelines
workplace assessment in their normal and intense mentoring would be keys to
assessment practice. Ms. Chapman highlighted successful implementation. However, challenge
the merits and demerits of the assessment of scalability will remain, as successful RPL
methods through case studies such as the Open models are labour intensive.
Polytechnic of new Zealand (OPNZ) where the
staff members are trained as RPL assessor. 3. Ms. Belinda Smith- ADB
RPL process in New Zealand Ms. Smith presented case studies from
In the initial stage the assessors helps students Australia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Bangladesh.
choose the most appropriate pathway. The She observed that defining RPL process is a
assessor also guides the candidate determine very crucial step towards building a national
unit standards (competency areas) they can framework. For example, the RCC framework
meet as per the assessment process. The encourages advanced learning by providing
assessee is then expected to colate evidence, platforms to students to get certification by
which should not be older than 2 years old. particular training institutes, thereby factoring
Once the unit standards have been collected, a learning requirements as well. This is usually
the assessee is informed about the remaining not designed into RPL frameworks that are
assessment parameters. Assessment takes designed only as certification processes.
place in 3-4 hour sessions. The assessment is Australia
conducted at the workplace and often RPL processes are difficult to implement and to
evidence is gathered from the online learning access. Prospective students are usually
environment. Since the assessor(s) are familiar disengaged from the education system and
with the work environment, they are also able therefore unaware of the TVET options. In fact,
to guide and assist the candidate in collecting many people remain unaware that recognition
appropriate evidence. of non-formal learning as an option. Often, the
Under the OPNZ initiative approximately 20 language associated with RPL also discourages
staff members have been involved so far. people from taking advantage of it. Ms. Pointed
Feedback from staff has been very positive and that students who have already entered the
assessees are volunteering to take part in the work force find evidence accumulation a very
process rather than being coerced. difficult process. Thus, ideally RPL Assessors
RPL for India - experiences from New should have high-level interpersonal skills, be
Zealand able to support/facilitate recognition pathways
RPL can be robust method of assessment of assesses, and have high credibility in their
depending on how it is implemented. Apart field. Ms. Smith stated that there is strong
from an assessment framework, RPL methods anecdotal evidence to suggest that encouraging
also induce learning. Ms. Chapman observed candidates to reflect on their learning
that assesses undergoing RPL processes testify significantly improves their confidence and
to deep learning as they have had to contributes to successful future learning.
understand the competence defined in the RPL at TAFE Australia
qualification, think through evidence from their Self-assessment of skills and development
past to support their achieving it, and work priorities is an important part of the RPL
through this evidence one on one with process at TAFE. The assessment is designed in
assessors. She observed that changing a manner that it is reflective of the individuals
interests, skills and needs. At TAFE,

supervisors skills are developed to manage the criteria. National competency standards have
learning of others. Ms. Smith observed that the been developed against which candidates are
students are supported in recognising their assessed. Assessors are also trained in
abilities and background achievements to help conducting RPL assessment. BTEB is the
them during their certification assessment. implementation team for RPL. 1000 assesses
Students from disadvantaged backgrounds, participated in a UNICEF/BRAC/ILO
such as the aboriginals, find the process very partnership for RPL assessment and
empowering. These students are often certification. Additional apprentices in the
motivated to upgrade their skills and formal sector, some 3500 machine operators in
knowledge with improved employment leather sector and 200 welders in ship-building
outcomes after RPL assessments. sector will also be seeking RPL.
Colombo Dockyards Sri Lanka
Under the Sri Lankan National System,
assessment method varies with NVQ level and SESSION 3: INDIAN EXPERIENCES
the occupation to be assessed. The Colombo
Dockyards has an Agreement with the NAITA 1. Ms. Gayathri Vasudevan (Labournet) has
(Nat. Apprent. Instit. Trg & Ass) for RPL completed RPL certification for approximately
assessment. In a move to standardize the 50,000 learners (including 30,000 in
processes all the employees were made to construction sector) across job roles in 6 work
undergo RPL certification. The assessment sectors. The Labour net method is a holistic
centre was established within the dockyard method which incorporates technical,
and all employees were given separate time to management and soft skills. Ms. Vasudevan
collect evidence. Evidence was collected delved further into the design methodology,
through mobile phones and supervisors report. evaluation methods used both for theory and
Employees found lacking in specific skills were practical evaluation. Under the Labour net
provided training to specific to their needs. assessment method, the assesse is
After assessment successful candidates were administered a set of questions, wherein the
provided with a National qualification under assessor checks for participant skills and
the NVQF. abilities. The assessments have two type of
Malaysia questions: Firstly, Observational Questions
A Human Resources Development Fund has which consist of checklist to be evaluated (as
been established to provide financial assistance Yes/ No), based on observation of actions/
for recognition of employees skills and procedure followed by the learner. Viva
experiences. RPL is viewed as a tool to up-skill Questions which are evaluated by the Assessor
existing workers and to increase productivity. (as Yes/ No) etc, based on the responses
Ms. Smith observed that in the Malaysian shared by the learner. Ms. Vasudevan
context, certification within the companies was elaborated on the challenges faced such as job
found to be a more effective process. role standardization at work place, willingness
Employers are required to submit applications of the employers to pay more, literacy levels of
on behalf of the RPL candidate. A portfolio workers, availability of assessors, Time and
approach is followed to gather to evidence resources for assessment, pathways for higher
under the assessment. Training is also learning.etc. Ms. Vasudevan emphasized the
provided to assesses for compilation of need to streamline assessment methods within
evidence in the Portfolio. the RPL framework. She also observed that RPL
Bangladesh assessment must also be cognizant of the
Section 13 of the National Skills Development multiple job roles that assesses undertake at
Policy relates to recognition of prior learning their worksite.
(RPL). 21 National Assessment and RPL centers
have been established to meet the National 2. Mr. Partha S. Banerjee (DEFT) outlined the
Skills Quality Assurance System (NSQAS) research methodology of an ongoing pilot

assessment being carried out by DEFT in the 4. Mr. Raj Gilda (Lend a Hand) provides
sectors of Agriculture, Construction and skill training to school students in village
Electronics. The sectors were selected on the communities through Diploma in Basic Rural
following parameters: proportion of Technology (DBRT) course of NIOS. Under the
unorganized workforce, trades and job roles programme trainers are selected from within
that have been in existence for at least two the village community and are encouraged to
decades, existing Sector Skill Council, get a certification for the same. The training
availability of Occupational standards and fees for the assessment is provide by Lend-a-
Qualification packs. Hand. Mr. Gilda shared some observations with
The core team is being supported by SSC to respect to the trainers in the field:
identify and mobilize the RPL candidates. 1. There is a certain amount of
Assessors have also been identified for each unlearning involved when the trainer
sector, and trained on RPL processes. Further moves from the workshop into the
validation of assessment tools and content will classroom.
be on the basis of SSC provided Qualification 2. The trainers find it extremely difficult
Packs. The assessment is envisaged to be to maintain records.
carried out as follows: (1) Two day orientation 3. There might be challenges in
for each candidate. (2) Assessment process to involving such trainers within the
collect artifacts/ evidence of his prior learning. formal system.
(3) On site assessment for a day: short written
exam, practical and orals. .Assessment tools 5. Mr Rajat Khawas (Manipal City &Guild)
will use visuals and will be in regional touched upon the major aspects of the
languages. (4) Besides scoring, assessors to approach to the Quality Assurance of
document areas of deficiency for each Assessment. This was done in the context of a
candidate. joint study between Manipal City and Guilds
Dr. Banerjee highlighted some of the key issues and Labour net.
that need to be addressed through the study:
Willingness of the assesses to pay fpr There was detailed discussions after all the
RPL certification presentations followed by selection of sectors
How will daily workers be for the RPL pilot study.
compensated during The five sectors selected for the pilot are
assessment period? i. Construction
Possibility of including non-SSC linked ii. Domestic workers
sectors? iii. Jems and Jewellery
iv. Agriculture
3. Dr. Shaju K. Albert (IGCAR) shared his v. Capital Goods
experiences from the welding sector. Since The participants were divided into five groups.
most welding in India is carried out manually, Each group deliberated on the following in
Dr. Albert was of the opinion that welders need points:
not have formal education and usually acquire Objectives
skills on the job. However, he observed that Job Roles
RPL in this sector could help the welder to Study methodology
progress from only level to another level at Timelines
work based on his skill acquisition. within the Costs
company for the welders. Variety of skill The workshop was concluded with
requirements (process, positions, materials presentations by each group.
etc.). Most of the previous experiences tend to
be around simple processes like OAW, MMAW.
Variety of quality, code requirements (some
call for welder to perform many other checks).

Way forward

Pilot studies will be carried out in the following

1. Construction
2. Domestic workers
3. Gems and Jewellery
4. Agriculture
5. Capital Goods
6. Health

The Sector Skills Councils/Working groups

have to submit the proposal by 12th May. The
proposals should not exceed 2000-3000 words.
It should include the following heads:
1. Objectives (hypothesis to be tested in
the pilot)
2. Methodology
a. Job roles
b. Target population
c. Geographic location
d. Sampling procedure
3. Timelines
4. Stakeholders involved
5. Financial costs.

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NIOs and NSDA Workshop on Strategy Planning for Implementing RPL for Informal Sector
Sl. No. Name and Address Email address
1. K. Renuka Raju
2. Yogish PV
Project Manager Capital Goods, Manipal City
and Guilds 9611029574
3. Vishishta Sam
NSDA 9650880145
4. Raj Gilda
Lend-A-Hand India 9552579543
5. Rajat Khawas
Manipal City & Guilds 9999957682
6. Melanie Chapman
Open Polytechnic of New Zealand 9958496431
7. Kajari Bharadwaj
Pearson India 9910777168
8. Premlata Mullick
Sushila Devi Polytechnic & Women 9897003355
9. Manju Gupta
NIOS 9810988123
10. Anjali Sinha sinha@imove----------
11. Jyoti Bhasin
Deft. Advisory & Research 9810211791
C.R. Park, New Delhi
12. P.S. Banerjee
Deft. Advisory & Research, 98701019900
C.R. Park, New Delhi-110 019
13. Orlando Ruthven
Gram Training, Orissa 9899761493
PHA, Green View Appartments
Meharauli New Delhi
14. Shawn Runacres
A4E India
15. Neelu Jain
Director Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Delhi 9871411131
16. Anupama Tripathi
Consultant, NSDA 9998231046

17. Ruchira Chandra

Consultant, NSDA 9953794955
18. Deepti Narang
Consultant, NSDA
19. Sunil Kaura,
RD Delhi
20. Deepankan Mallick
Director (Trg.)
DGE&T, M/o Labour & Employment
21. Rajiv Sharma
MD 9810305671
Empower Pragati, B-87 A, Kalkajee

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New Delhi
22. Pritha Dutt 9810246122
Empower Pragati, B-87 A, Kalkajee
New Delhi
23. Rajiv Mathur 9999155669
24. Gayathri
Labournet 9948395256
25. N.S. Bhuie
NCHM&CT NOIDA 931262664
Ministry of Tourism
26. Pradeep Bhatnagar
Dy. Secretary 9910221846
Ministry of HRD
27. Inder S Gahlaut
CEO Capital Goods SC /FICCI 9818096243
28. Dr. Satender Arya
29. Radhika Binani
30. Belinda Smith
ADB Skills for inclusive Growth 9560044494
31. N.B Saxena
Construction Skill Development Council of 9810646996
204-205, Asheervad Complex, Green Park,
New Delhi
32. R.K. Chugh
Executive. Dir. PCTI , 2nd Floor, RU Block, 8527594011
DDA Comm. Complex, Pitampura, Delhi-
33. Shaju K Albert
Chairman MTD II Bureau of Indian 9443382372
Head, Material Technology Division
IGCAR, Kalpakkam-603102, Tamilnadu
34. Sunil K Chaturvedi
CEO, ASDC 9810236256
1/6 Siri Institutional Area, Khelgaon Marg
35. Dharmesh Sodah
CEO GJSCI 9821093813
Gems and Jewellery Skill Council of India,
Business Rehabilitation centre, 3rd Floor,
SEZ, Mumbai-400096
36. Arun Kumar PILLAI
COO, IL&FS 9871749700
IL&FS Skill Dev. Cop. NOIDA T&L
37. Pooja Gianchandani
IL&FS Education, NOIDA, NTBCL 9818337440
38. Sh. U.N. Khware, Secretary
Secretary, NIOS

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39. Sh. C. Dharuman
Director (Evel.), NIOS
40. Dr. Shanyam Bhardwaj
Director (SSS), NIOS
41. Dr. Kuldeep Agarwal
Director (Acad.), NIOS
42. Mamta Srivastava,
Dy. Director (VE)
43. Neelima Pant
AO(Agri.) VE, NIOS 9560252404
44. Radhika.B.
AO(ICT), VE, NIOS 7503879390
45. V. Sathish
AO(HPM), VE, NIOS 9911611294
46. Parthish Kr. Paul
AO(Tech.), VE, NIOS
47. Shivali Chawla

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