RPL in practice

The project “RPL in practice” aims to promote different ways of recognising competences for access to further studies and for the attainment of higher education credits.

Project background

There are signs that there is a gap in policy and prac­tice in many countries concerning recognition of prior learning (RPL). The Bologna Implementation Report of 2018 indicates that alternative entry routes to higher education are rarely used. According to the report, only five higher education systems have nationally established and regularly monitored procedures, guidelines or policy for the assessment and recognition of prior learning.

This project aims to narrow the gap between policy and practice by establishing a peer group concentrating on recognition of prior learning, which will support the implementation of recognition and validation procedures.

Partners in the project are national authorities from five countries: Austria, Croatia, Iceland, Ireland and Sweden, as well as Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Ireland, and EURASHE. Each country has also appointed higher education institutions to take part in the project. The national authorities will provide the platform for national policy discussion. During the project, participating HEIs will test cases of RPL and support the development of practical guidelines.

Project objectives

The project's main objective is to encourage participating countries' use of peer learning to develop quality-assured and consistent working methods for recognising non-formal and informal learning that conform to the conditions of the participating countries. 

The participating Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will benefit from the exchange of best practices, allowing them to improve their methods for recognising prior learning. Additionally, it should lead to a common understanding of standards and procedures when it comes to RPL and put focus on implementation.

After the project's conclusion, other HEIs will benefit with tested guidelines that will help them  increase access to their study programmes through recognition of prior learning. HEI staff working with student counselling, admissions and recognition as well as academic staff will also benefit from the project.

The main beneficiaries, however, are students and potential students. The largest expected impact is easier access to higher education and credit transfer through recognition of prior learning. This should facilitate alternative ways of entering higher education and promote lifelong learning.

Project partners

Sweden (coordinator)

Swedish Ministry of Education and Research

The Swedish Council for Higher Education, UHR


Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria – AQ Austria

Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research


Ministry of Education, Science and Culture

Rannís The Icelandic Centre for Research


Ministry of Science and Education


Cork Institute of Technology (CIT)

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)

The Irish Universities Association (IUA)


Participating Higher Education Institutions


University of Gothenburg

KTH Royal Institute of Technology


Universität für Bodenkultur Wien

FH Campus Wien

Pädagogische Hochschule Oberösterreich (PH OÖ)


University of Iceland

Iceland University of the Arts


University of Rijeka Faculty of Law

Algebra University College


Cork Institute of Technology (CIT)

Mary Immaculate College (MIC)

Project timeline

The project runs for 24 months starting in April 2019.


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Last updated: 14 November 2019