Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology appoints a committee for the recognition of prior learning: traditional healing and practices pilot programme in KwaZulu Natal

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande, has appointed a 13-member steering committee to focus on the accreditation of institutions for the Recognition of Prior Learning in African Traditional medicines.


The appointed Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Steering Committee will facilitate the implementation of a Discipline of Competence (DoC) for the Traditional Health Practice domain in a form of a pilot programme to test the developed competence norms and standards in a real life-setting environment.


This pilot will result in a model for RPL that will be rolled out to other provinces.


Minister Nzimande said that the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Policy (IKS Policy), adopted by Cabinet in 2004, created an enabling framework to stimulate and to strengthen the contribution of indigenous knowledge to social and economic growth in South Africa.


“The establishment of mechanisms to recognise areas of indigenous knowledge (IK) as professional disciplines with their own institutions, governance structures, and approaches to quality assurance is an important step towards affirming Indigenous Knowledge (IK) as a knowledge domain in its own right,” said Minister Nzimande.


Minister Nzimande said that the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) worked with Indigenous Knowledge stakeholders in facilitating the development of a Regulatory Framework for the Recognition of Prior Learning of Indigenous Knowledge Holders and Practitioners.


Competency norms and standards were developed in four Traditional Health Practitioner’s (THP’s) categories of diviners, herbalists, traditional birth attendants and traditional surgeons in KwaZulu Natal, North West and Limpopo provinces.  The work produced in the KZN province was the most complete in terms of the scoped competency norms and standards that were developed by the THP’s.


“As a Department we have presented the Recognition of Prior Learning pilot programme to the National House of Traditional Leaders, the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, and all these stakeholders supported and endorsed the initiative, confirmed the Minister.


The steering committee will attend a week-long closed induction workshop from 7 to 11 October 2019, organised by the DSI and University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), which has been contracted to establish a Steering Committee.


The aim of the workshop is to lay the foundation for the steering committee to begin implementing the RPL pilot programme in KwaZulu-Natal.


Members of the media are invited to the launch of the programme as follows:


Date:          8 October 2019

Time:         08:30 – 10:00

Venue:      Westville Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal


For more information and to RSVP, please contact:


DSI:           Julian Leshilo at 060 961 2194 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UKZN:       Sejal Desai at 083 284 9333 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Issued by:


Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology

DST Building (53), CSIR Campus

Meiring Naude Road




Enquiries: Ishmael Mnisi 066 037 8859


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