Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

A huge section of India’s unorganized workforce are unskilled and semi-skilled. Most of them pick up skills and knowledge in an informal set up by observing people or working under their guidance or through complete self-learning. As a result, even though they manage to get a job and earn a decent wage or salary, they may not be able to improve their skills. This also affects their productivity and quality of output. They need access to training programs and support from their employers to skill and upskill themselves. This is where Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can help them get assessed and certified on their current competencies as per NSQF levels. RPL also shows them a path to bridge their current knowledge and skill levels to reach a competency level or go for higher skills for professional growth.

RPL is a key element under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The scheme plans to impart skill based training to one crore people between 2016 – 2020 and RPL will account for 40 lakhs candidate whose prior experience and skills will be assessed and certified

Benefits for the workforce

Through RPL assessment and certification, the candidates will be able to align existing competencies with the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) for better opportunities in higher education. Besides creating an equitable system, RPL also helps them explore different options in skilling and upskilling to bridge the knowledge and skill gaps.

Benefits for the industry

By getting the workforce certified under RPL, the industry gets the dual advantage (1) formally recognized skill levels mapped with QPs and job roles and (2) open up different paths for workers to upskill and grow through short term training and bridge courses.

RPL assesses the prior knowledge and skills of individuals and certifies them mainly in the unregulated sector. The objectives of RPL are:

·         Align the competencies of the unregulated sectors of the country with the National Skills Qualification Framework

·         Enhance the chances of employment of individuals and provide them with more options for higher education.

·         Reduce the inequalities that are present due to the privileges given to some types of skills and knowledge over others.

RPL will be implemented in the following 3 types of projects: RPL Camps, Employers’s premises and RPL centres using the 5-Step process:



Either a mobilizing agency like an Association/NGO or Training partner will help in mobilizing potential candidates or the employer will directly handle it. The different implementation modalities and the stakeholders involved for each project type have to be taken into note during this stage and the prescribed guidelines for each have to be followed.

Counselling and Pre-screening

Training partners shall be engaged as RPL facilitators to conduct the counselling and pre-screening of the candidates. Care should be taken to ensure that only certified trainers are approved for participation.Counselling will be done on the following topics by the facilitators

·         What is PMKY?

·         What is RPL (including the 5 step process followed)

·         How will Skill Certification according to NSQF help in transforming the candidate’s life?

In addition to the above an induction video is shown to the candidates on RPL. After the counselling, the pre-screening of the candidates is done in two partsPart 1 – Collecting supporting documentation or proof from the candidates and any documentation available for the job rolePart 2 – A Self- Assessment by the candidate. A self- assessment sheet will be created for each job role containing questions based on the NOSs of the job role. 15 minutes will be allotted to the candidates to complete this Self-Assessment. Once the counselling and screening is complete candidates will be enrolled under the scheme. It is mandatory that the candidates have Aadhar cards and a bank account at the time of enrolment.


Every enrolled candidate has to undergo the Orientation which includes the following activities:

·         Domain Training – Minimum 3hrs

·         Soft Skills and Entrepreneurship Tips Specific to Job Role – Minimum 2 hours

·         Familiarization to Assessment Process and Terms – Minimum 1hour

Wherever required either bridge courses or job specific training kits maybe provided to the candidates.

Final Assessment

PIA will identify Assessment Agencies that will conduct the Final Assessment of the candidates. The assessment agency will grade the RPL candidates as per NSQF to ascertain the competency level of candidates in each job role. Upon completion of the assessment each candidate will be assigned grades based on his/her performance which will either be Pass grades (A/B/C) or a Fail grade (D).The assessment results are to be uploaded within 2 days of completing the assessment and at the end of the final assessment the candidates have to fill a feedback form which will be stored for a minimum of 2 years.

Certification and Payout

Within 5 days of the final assessments the candidates will be notified their Grades and details regarding where to collect their Certificates and mark sheets.Candidates with pass grades (grades A,B and C) shall be eligible for certificates. They will be awarded a skill Certificate, mark sheets and a pay out of Rs.500. Only candidates with valid Aadhar cards (or alternate Ids where applicable) are eligible for the skill certificates.Candidates with the fail grade (grade D) will be given the mark sheet only

Once the certificates and mark sheets are collected the Pass grade candidates will be made aware of the opportunities available to re-skill/upskill themselves and the fail grade candidates will be similarly briefed on new training opportunities for them. Only certified candidates will receive the payment of Rs.500 which will be directly deposited in their bank accounts and hence only candidates with valid bank accounts will be considered by NSDC