Date of Award

12-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Workforce Education and Development

First Advisor

Hagler, Barbara

Abstract

Access to opportunities for better life through education and training has been in debate among stakeholders of education and social scientists for a long time. This study has attempted to understand how recognition of individuals' prior experiential learning might be instrumental to widen the access to higher education. The perceptions, experiences, and opinions to recognition of prior experiential learning of stakeholders of the education system in Nepal have been the basis to understand the phenomena in this study. This is a descriptive study that used sequential mixed method design (QUAN emphasized). The purpose of the study was to identify factors affecting the implementation of a system for assessing RPEL in Nepal. A pragmatic paradigm guided the collection and analysis of data (survey and interview). A researcher-developed survey (.719, Chronbach alpha index) containing 20 statements facilitated data collection for the quantitative phase of the study followed by interviews of individuals for the qualitative phase. The population of the study was comprised of the stakeholders of the education sector in Nepal covering various strata that includes university teachers, Ministry of Education personnel, workers who have a skills certificate and want to move on to higher education, and personnel of international development agencies working on human resource development in Nepal. A total of 80 individuals responded to the survey questionnaire and six individuals were interviewed. Quantitatively, the survey results of the stakeholders of the education system in Nepal showed some factors were influential on implementing Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) in Nepal. There were no consensuses among the groups regarding the identified factors on degree of influence on recognition of prior experiential learning with the factors that emerged from the survey, thus indicating that there is a mixed attitude towards RPEL. Qualitatively four themes were identified during the course of data analysis: a) recognizing non-formal and experiential learning is not common practices in Nepal, b) there are no common factors that influence recognition of prior experiential learning, c) mechanism/procedures/structure for prior experiential learning are in infant stage, and d) policies regarding non-formal learning along with experiential learning are concerns of debate in education arena. The qualitative portion of the study provided categories that confirmed existing categories in the survey, which provided clarity and specificity to existing categories, as well as provided new categories. Participants had favorable attitudes towards RPEL regarding the widening the access to higher education.

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