Recognition of prior learning in the real estate industry: a case study of the Johannesburg metropolitan area
Chanda, Kabwe Zacharia
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This research paper investigates the extent to which the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is implemented in the Real Estate industry within the Johannesburg Metropolitan area. The Real Estate industry is an ideal industry to assess the prior learning of real estate agents since there is no doubt that such a workplace has been recognized as an effective and efficient learning environment which allows workers to take part in an ever-changing work environment (Le Clus, 2011). Despite the availability of resources from different entities, i.e. the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), RPL centres, Umalusi, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), and so on (OECD, 2010) there seems to be incompatibility between the existing policy and the implementation of such policy in the Real Estate industry. Hence, to paraphrase a common theme within the literature (Cameron and Miller, 2004) there is a gap between the promise and rhetoric of RPL and the actual reality, and a disjuncture between policy formulation and implementation of RPL. Also, most research (Cameron and Miller, 2004) reveals that RPL has neither fulfilled its promised potential of encouraging the previously disadvantaged groups to access formal education and training, nor achieved its goal as a mechanism for social inclusion. The two primary research questions for this research paper were: Why are potential RPL candidates not taking the RPL route to obtain their certification? What are the barriers that obstruct efficient RPL implementation within the Real Estate industry? The research design was exploratory within a qualitative framework employing focus group interviewing, individual interviewing and the distribution of questionnaires that consisted of open-ended questions. The research sample comprised nineteen participants that included eight estate agents, four principals, five RPL Centers‟ representatives, one representative from the Services SETA and one representative from the Estate Agency Affairs Board. Master of Education in Adult Education and Global Change - Dissertation [University of the Western Cape] The research findings show that there are serious issues with the implementation current RPL policy within the real estate industry. Many scholars (Colardyn and Bjørna°vold, 2004; Bjørna°vold, 2000) indicate that RPL comes with its challenges, for instance that of the role it can play and the extent to which it can address the twin goals of increasing educational level of participation and employment rates. RPL also takes much time, as Anderson, Fejes and Ahn (2004) stress, to transform non-formal and informal learning into more or less formal learning that is ratified in the form of officially acknowledged certificates. Elements such as lack of or insufficient learner support by advisors and language barriers, have contributed significantly to the dropping out of most candidates. The strength of RPL is that unaccredited knowledge and skills can be brought into the open for everyone to see and, in a sense, come into use (Berglund and Anderson, 2012). This was made evident by the candidates who made it through RPL. RPL has also contributed to social equity and redress by admitting candidates as recognised agents and principals who previously were about to be excluded from the industry due to lack of recognised qualifications.