This article argues that a model of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in use at a Workers College in South Africa, may be seen as a form of ‘radical pedagogy’. Drawing on documentary sources, focus group interviews and observations, it describes an educational philosophy which aims to build the competencies of labour and community activists, facilitate their self-affirmation and dignity, and provide an access route to post-school education. It documents and attempts to theorise how this philosophy is enacted in classroom pedagogy, and explores some of the tensions and challenges encountered. The article concludes by acknowledging the unique contribution of these education practices to an understanding of what ‘RPL as radical pedagogy’ might look like.
The Workers’ College, always worked closely with LaRRI in education programmes both locally and on the continent but a special collaboration between the College, LaRRI and the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) was formed 11 years ago and this resulted in the Labour Studies Diploma of LaRRI being accredited through the College by the UKZN
This programme aims to redress inequities by providing adult learners with opportunities for learning. The model developed is one that specifically targets adults working in community based organisations, including trade unions, so as to build the capacity of individuals and groups within these organisations.