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Cameron, R & Miller, P 2004, 'RPL: why has it failed to act as a mechanism for social change', paper presented to the Social Change in the 21st Century Conference, Centre for Social Change Research, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 29 October.


Recognition of prior learning (RPL) was introduced into Australia as part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). A major tenet and driver of RPL relates to social justice and its promise to act as a mechanism for social inclusion. RPL was seen as a means to offer those groups who traditionally did not participate in post compulsory education and training an opportunity to have their work and life experiences recognised. Initially, the rhetoric was full of promise however, over the ten or so years since its inception recent research paints a different picture The identified barriers to the up take of RPL, who applies for it, at what qualification level and in what sectors attests to the fact that the promise has not been realised (Wheelahan, et al, 2003; Bowman, et al, 2003).