S.G. Kang, C. Son

Korean Educational Development Institute (KOREA, REPUBLIC OF)
The purpose of this presentation is to discuss Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in practice in the Korean secondary education level and seek for strategies to refine and invigorate RPL, focusing on the Open Middle & High Schools (OMHS). The OMHS take a blended approach in terms of teaching and learning with e-learning in weekdays and face-to-face learning in weekends. The establishment of the OMHS is intended to provide regular secondary education for both adults and adolescents who missed their timely educational opportunities due to such reasons as economic and personal constraints, etc. There are 42 Open High Schools and 6 Open Middle Schools all around the country as of the year of 2014 and the stakeholders include the Korean Ministry and Education, 16 Education Offices of City and Province, and each local school.

RPL that puts more or equal values on non-formal and informal learning than on traditional formal learning has become one of the central themes in the context of lifelong learning, employability, and social inclusion, mainly in higher education sectors. The OMHS is going with this trend and have started RPL that is a system of ‘formally’ recognizing various kinds of learning experiences acquired from ‘non-formal’ and ‘informal’ learning outside the school curriculum as completing a certain amount of coursework since the year of 2013. The Introduction of RPL to the OMHS has resulted from understanding the characteristics of the students enrolled in the schools, for example, their present and past vocations, need for vocational training, and so on.

It is expected that RPL can bring positive impacts such as: motivating adult and adolescent students to more engage in learning; alleviating their school work and decreasing drop-out rates; providing opportunities to get professional vocational training. That is, RPL can help the students ease their school work and complete the regular course more quickly and graduate earlier. It is also possible to skip a grade through RPL.

The implementation of RPL in the OMHS is based on the ‘Decree on Standards for Open Middle & High Schools’, which specifies details about the establishment and operation of the OMHS. The Decree on Standards explicitly specifies what kinds of learning experiences can be counted towards the course of study. They include, but not limited to nation-authenticated certificates, passed subjects in the qualification exam for middle or high school graduation, completed courses in a variety of vocational training institutes. The Decree on Standards also gives a legal basis for organizing the Committee for RPL in an educational research institute for a fair and consistent recognition of prior learning experiences.

This presentation will begin with giving an understanding of the OMHS in terms of the legal basis for its establishment and operation, distinguishing features, general characteristics of the OMHS students, and background information of why RPL has been introduced in the OMHS system. Then it will give an opportunity to take an in-depth look at RPL being implemented in the OMHS, regarding areas of prior learning experiences, evaluation and approval procedures, and approval standards. The presentation will end with presenting henceforth tasks to be undertaken in order to benefit more students as well as hitherto achievements with RPL in the OMHS.