The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) launched the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), as a step to recognize and certify the competence of skilled workers in the informal economy.
Under this new initiative, the skilled workers, who have learned various skills informally mainly through Ustad-Shagrid system, undergo a competency based assessment and upon successful test are issued national certificates. With the support of TVET Reform Support Programme, RPL is part of the Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBT & A) Programme being run under the selected vocational trades across the country to bring a paradigm shift in the delivery of technical and vocational education and training. The Programme is funded by the European Union and governments of Germany and Norway.
Zulfiqar Ahmed Cheema, Executive Director NAVTTC, in his one of recent interviews said the CBT Programmes are designed and delivered by adopting a systematic approach, focusing on better employability of the trainees with strong market linkages.
“This approach enables the skilled workers to get their skills recognized; subsequently leading them to have access to better job opportunities and advanced education,” says Mr. Cheema.
In technical terms RPL refers to a process which examines evidence of past learning and experience. It further enhances national and international acceptance of certified skilled workforce from informal sector and help them for possible career progression for in-company workers.
Mohammed Sami working as auto mechanic for last couple of years at auto shop in Hyderabad was one of the 58 skilled workers who appeared in the assessment of their current competencies at Karachi.
While sharing his experience with the assessment, Mr. Sami says: “My Ustad asked me to apply for this assessment, because of which now I am able to apply for a formal job here or abroad.”
“The individuals appeared in the RPL assessment were aware of their work hence most of them were declared as competent and eligible to receive national certificate’” says Mr. Naeem Ahmed, In-charge of RPL assessment in Trade Testing Board Sindh. He said that out of 58 skilled workers who appeared in assessment, 54 cleared the assessment who will be awarded with the certificates.
NAVTTC plans to carry out assessment of around 300 skilled workers across the country in different trades during this pilot phase. So far 65 skilled workers have been qualified in mason and auto mechanic trades according to National Vocational Qualifications Framework.