Recognition of Prior Learning in Jordan - a long history, an extensive experience and new challenges

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 The article presents most important information about RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) in Jordan — systemic and legal solutions and points to the implementation stage, the limitations and challenges faced by RPL and the development opportunities, including the Qualifications Framework introduced relatively recently in Jordan.


Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning (VNFIL) is known as recognition of prior learning (RPL) in Jordan. RPL in Jordan currently involves vocational education and training sector and has been implemented almost since 1999 (introduced by the occupational work organization law of that year).  Under this law, and its implementing acts, a number of occupations require a license, which determines the level of professional skills of workers. Depending on the level of professional skills, the said law divides workers into five categories: semi-skilled (lowest level), skilled, craftsmen, technicians and specialists (highest level). The use of RPL in the vocational education and training sector is limited to three basic levels: semi-skilled, skilled, and craftsmen. The main focus in the application of RPL is on the certification and verification (assessment) stages.





Verification and certification stage

The assessment tests used in RPL consist of two parts (theoretical and practical). Occupational practice licenses are issued to the candidate who passes both parts of the test. Licenses identify the occupation/position name and its occupational level. Fees for RPL assessment tests and for issuance of an occupational license are not subject to any exemptions. Fees are paid mainly by applicants, and in some cases by employers or entities supporting projects targeted at employed workers (Jordanians and Syrians).


The main public institution responsible for implementing RPL in Jordan is the Technical and Vocational Skills Development Commission (TVSDC), which works with VET providers - in particular the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC). Private sector involvement is mainly in the development and delivery of learning outcomes verification - assessment tests.

The extensive experience in implementing RPL in the VET sector provides a solid foundation for developing and implementing a more comprehensive RPL system in Jordan (covering a much broader area than just the three categories of workers). This development is supported by the Jordan National Qualifications Framework (JNQF), approved in 2019, of which RPL is an important part. The framework covers all levels of qualifications and certificates related to general education, higher education, and vocational and technical training. The JNQF contains 10 levels, the lowest being pre-school education and the 10th highest - doctorate. The key government agency responsible for the development and implementation of the JNQF, including RPL, is the Accreditation and Quality Assurance Commission for Higher Education Institutions (AQACHEI) and Technical and Vocational Skills Development Commission (TVSDC) - involved in the implementation of the national qualifications framework in the VET sector. According to the JNQF regulations, it is possible to obtain any of the 10 qualification levels through RPL. In addition, based on the qualifications obtained through RPL, it is possible to continue informal education to obtain the next higher level of qualification.  However, by 2021, the use of RPL under the JNQF has not yet begun. The reason for this is the lack of officially developed and approved guidelines - instructions and criteria.

RPL in Jordan, although it has a relatively long history and the country has quite an extensive experience in implementing validation, faces new challenges: developing a comprehensive and effective system linked to the recently introduced JNQF and validation not only for several levels of professional qualifications but for each sector. The problems to be solved are: the lack of capacity (human resources and experience), insufficient awareness among targeted beneficiaries, the lack of trust by stakeholders, and shortage of funding.

 It is interesting to note that RPL solutions for VET in Jordan are not only available to Jordanians but also to foreign workers (migrant workers). The number of professional licenses issued at VTC between 2010 and 2018 was 38205 (for both Jordanians and foreign workers).