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Been there, done that - Life lessons learnt. Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Management Practice) – NQF7 (new 8). Strategic level programme offered to middle - senior managers from Corporate, Government and the SETAs; Adopts a Systems Thinking and Action Learning approach;

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Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Management Practice) –

NQF7 (new 8)

  • Strategic level programme offered to middle - senior managers from Corporate, Government and the SETAs;
  • Adopts a Systems Thinking and Action Learning approach;
  • Offers Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to managers with work and life experience but no first degree;
  • Programme spans 18 -24 months with three 8-day contact modules plus one non-contact Action Learning project module, all interspersed with intermodular periods for workplace learning and assessment;
  • Articulation options exist for movement into the Masters in Commerce or Mphil.

The following clients, inter alia, provide student cohorts:

    • AngloGold Ashanti (global)
    • Anglo American
    • Barrick Gold
    • Itron
    • BoE
    • JP Morgan
    • Woolworths
    • Namibia Water Board
    • INSETA
    • Services SETA
    • Department of Public Enterprises
    • South African Post Office
    • Department of Health (Oliver Tambo Fellowship)
    • Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa (Tralac - Africa)
    • The Waterfront Company
    • Pam Golding; Anne Porter

Jerry and Brad


Recognition of Prior Learning -

In the University context, the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the evaluation and acknowledgement of the knowledge and skills that a candidate has gained other than through formal study to enable him/her to gain access to higher education even though he/she doesn’t necessarily meet the normal entrance requirements. This includes knowledge gained as a result of non-formal study, paid and unpaid work experience, community and organisational involvement and individual inquiry.

RPL is based on a developmental model, not a deficit model of adult learning; it builds on knowledge and skills that adults have already acquired. RPL facilitates lifelong learning.

We use RPL for access and advanced standing.


RPL as an assessment instrument -

  • Relevant candidates should be measured against:
  • Academic capabilities and skills – ‘graduateness’;
  • Management capability;
  • Specific work field or discipline.

Note: Candidates will also provide experiential learnings from community involvement, home and education (in the manner explained in the following slides).


Our friendly RPL case study... Graham North

Graham started out at Adecco Recruitment Services, a Swiss-owned global company, as the Group Treasury and Legal Manager. Adecco’s SA HO is in Durban and it boasts 15 branches countrywide. Graham has since been promoted to Company Accountant, in addition to the above-mentioned portfolio.

I’m very thankful to Graham for granting me permission to showcase his RPL document, as it is a very personal account of one’s life.

  • I will be reading excerpts from Graham’s accounts of his:
  • Working years (BBC)
  • Academic years (GSB)
  • Entrepreneurial years (property passion)
  • Family years (terminal illness in family)
  • Adapted from My Story by Graham Marc North – July 2009

Critical questions to ponder -

  • What do I know?
    • context of job/organisation/profession;
  • Can I communicate?
    • orally; in writing; in different contexts; in a group;
  • Can I work with others?
    • recognise needs of others; influence/persuade/motivate others; contribute to group planning and decisions; lead a group;
  • Can I solve problems?
    • recognise and analyse a problem’s component parts; formulate and evaluate possible solutions; plan to deal with it; deal with it; evaluate the outcome; plan to avoid similar problems;
  • Can I collect and use information?
    • find and extract relevant information from a variety of sources; reorganise information for a particular purpose;

Critical questions to ponder – continued...

  • Can I evaluate my own performance?
    • in carrying out particular tasks; in a variety of roles – parent, committee member, employee etc; identify own strengths and weaknesses; plan effectively for future development;
  • Can I evaluate the performance of others?
    • assess the skills of others; set up and apply measures of performance – production targets etc; and
  • Have I mathematical or numerical skills?
    • calculate in different ways; solve mathematical problems in different contexts; keep accounts etc.

Content knowledge -

  • The KNOWLEDGE base consists of:
  • declarative knowledge – understanding of rules and theories etc; construct and map new knowledge; accept multiple perspectives;
  • procedural knowledge – select and apply essential procedures in context; understand enquiry and research and how to relate it to field;
  • conditional knowledge – when to use procedures, skills etc; why they work and under what conditions; why one is better than another.

Skills of Management Practice –

  • Apply knowledge to problems and issues -
  • Problem solving – deal with unfamiliar concrete and abstract problems and issues using evidence-based solutions and theory-driven arguments;
  • Information processing – good information retrieval skills; critical analysis and synthesis of data; using IT appropriately;
  • Communication – present and
  • communicate information, ideas and
  • opinions in well-structured arguments.

Self Development –

  • Operate in variable and unfamiliar learning contexts – responsibility and initiative;
  • Accurately self-evaluate and identify own learning needs; and
  • Interact effectively in a learning group.

Draft Level Descriptors for NQF6 (7) – Applied Competence

  • Learners should demonstrate:
  • a well-rounded and systematic knowledge base in one or more disciplines/fields and a detailed knowledge of some specialist areas;
  • a coherent and critical understanding of one or more disciplines/field’s terms, rules, concepts, principles and theories; an ability to map new knowledge onto a given body of theory; and acceptance of a multiplicity of ‘right’ answers;
  • effective selection and application of the essential procedures, operations and techniques of a discipline/field; an understanding of the central methods of enquiry and research in a discipline/field; a knowledge of at least one other discipline/field’s mode of enquiry;
  • an ability to deal with unfamiliar concrete and abstract problems and issues using evidence-based solutions and theory-driven arguments;
  • well-developed information retrieval skills; critical analysis and synthesis of quantitative and/or qualitative data; presentation skills following prescribed formats, using IT skills appropriately;
  • an ability to present and communicate information and their own ideas and opinions in well-structured arguments, showing an awareness of audience and using academic/professional discourse appropriately.

Draft Level Descriptors for NQF6 (7) – Autonomy of Learning

  • Learners should demonstrate:
  • a capacity to operate effectively in complex, ill-defined contexts;
  • a capacity to self-evaluate exercising personal responsibility and initiative;
  • a capacity to manage learning tasks autonomously, ethically and professionally; and
  • a capacity to continue to learn independently for continuing academic/professional development.

Suggested student process for RPL construction -

Generic Competencies

Specific Field/Discipline

Successes and Events

Competencies and Skills List

Task 2

Task 1

What did I need to know?

Task 4

Task 3

Relate back to job

Affinity Diagram

Relate generic to own specific field