For the recognition formal and informal education, the recognition of prior learning and work experience (RPL) system, which takes into account earlier studies and work experience, has been developed in Estonia. RPL allows rendering visible and value any knowledge and skills regardless of where these were acquired. During the last European Social Fund funding period, RPL system has been developed through different programmes (PRIMUS and “Development of occupational qualifications system”).
RPL allows recognising earlier formal education acquired within the adult education system; knowledge obtained during further training or individually as well as knowledge and skills obtained from working experience. Whereas, it is most important that the content of knowledge obtained earlier was in compliance with the curriculum or professional standard. Recognising the learning and working experience requires that the educational institutions opened up to a new approach, agreed on procedures and rules and were ready to address every person individually.
Implementation of RPL in an educational institution providing formal education within the adult education system is regulated by the professional education standard at professional education level and higher education standard at higher education level.
At general education level, RPL principles are applied but no common requirements for the application have been developed and there is still little experience with the system. It is planned to broaden the use of RPL system and implement the system in general education. It is supported by the Adult Education Act and the standard for further training developed on the basis thereof, according to which, educational institutions which provide further training are required to transfer to output-based assessment also in further training. This creates prerequisites for a broader implementation of RPL, where the knowledge acquired during further training is recognised more than before.