The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (Sacap) has unveiled a new online platform that will launch its reignited Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme – a component of the council’s plan to realise transformation within the profession and the broader built environment.
Sacap’s strategic plan and objectives are aligned with the imperatives of the National Development Plan and the roll-out of its large-scale infrastructure projects.
Following a moratorium on Sacap’s RPL programme instituted in 2010, a lengthy period of consultation ensued between Sacap and its voluntary associations. More recently, there has been an intense period of testing newly designed RPL software. Available in a new format, the service seeks to benefit three of the registration categories: draughtspersons, architectural technologists and senior architectural technologists.
The purpose of RPL is to assess previously acquired skills and knowledge, aimed at providing an opportunity to articulate to the next level of professional registration. The two-stage process allows for online self-assessment followed by jury authentication as a means of fulfilling the requirements to upgrade to a higher category of registration. Articulating within the profession will uplift the professional status of successful applicants and is expected to help them unlock more lucrative work opportunities.
RPL only allows for access to elevated professional registration – it is not an academic qualification. Eligibility requires the individual to be registered as a professional.
Through its research, Sacap estimates that more than 500 professionals across the country, commonly referred to as ‘the missing middle’, need access to equal opportunity and practical redress for past imbalances and are eager to take their first steps on Sacap’s innovative RPL online platform. Each will have to demonstrate project work from the last three to five years, depending on the registration category.
Sacap president Yashaen Luckan expects equity statistics to improve through the RPL programme and is certain it will enable the realisation of Sacap’s vision for people-centred architecture.
“The fundamental philosophy on which the RPL assessment is based is that practitioners in all four categories essentially share the same professional landscape and social responsibilities. They are exposed to exactly the same technological, environmental, legislative and socioeconomic parameters and constraints, although arguably to different degrees, depending on the complexity of the project and circumstances.”
The outcome produced by the first phase of the RPL assessment determines whether the user can progress to the second phase.
The authentication juries will convene in major cities around the country, based on demand, twice yearly.
In addition, a video tutorial has been produced to guide first-time users who will need to enter evidence that demonstrates they meet the minimum standards in ten different outcome areas.
Applicants may be required to undertake a design test/mini dissertation. In the spirit of transparency and constructive input, every applicant will be issued with an assessment rubric with a points range and comments.