Zanzibar collaborates with ILO to develop first Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme

Zanzibar’s Vocational Training Authority (VTA) organised the workshop to develop pilot competency standards for RPL in 3 occupations

Press release | 31 July 2019

 Experts from VTA, VETA with technical and financial support from the ILO had a three days working session in Zanzibar, 28th and 30TH June 2019, to articulate competency standards for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessments in three occupations, namely; masonry, mechanics and welding.  

Development of competency standards is key to RPL assessment as it provided a unique opportunity to align work practices with approved occupational skills standards (OSS). This exercise also allowed RPL experts to aggregate OSS into units of employable modules as set by workplace standards. It is through this process that a checklist for a modularized competency profile which forms the basis of RPL assessment, is developed

Zanzibar, like many parts of Africa has a large section of its labour force training and working in the informal sector, with a majority lacking formal qualifications. As a result, the Vocational Training Authority (VTA is working closely with the ILO to develop an RPL system on the island to formally recognize and award qualifications to thousands of its workers.

The need is necessitated by Zanzibar’s growing economy due to increased Tourism activities, the Isles’ main foreign exchange earner. Zanzibar is also known to have very close social economic ties to   Middle East due to historical links. Therefore, a growing number of Zanzibar locals migrate to Middle East countries in search of greener pastures; but without formal qualifications, these opportunities for growth and decent jobs become a distant reality.  

ILO’s technical assistance in establishing RPL system in Zanzibar is made under the SKILL-UP programme with generous funding from the Government of Norway through the ILO –Norway Partnership for skills development. This activity contributes to the objectives of the project aimed at supporting expansion of RPL systems to new locations and cover additional occupations  

Under the current support, VTA in partnerships with SMEs, artisans and master craftsperson, with guidance from the tripartite steering committee, are working on six (6) priority occupations selected through consultative meetings in both Unguja and Pemba. The occupations, masonry, mechanics and weilding were selected based on their job rich, relevance and formalization trends indicating demand for formal qualifications

Recognition of prior learning is a process of identifying, assessing and certifying people who lack paper qualifications despite having the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to do the work. Mostly these are people who acquired their learning through informal or/and non-formal processes.