Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL): An Alternative Entry Route to Higher Education
by StudyMalaysia.com on December 2, 2016 | Top Stories
If you've always wanted to further your studies at tertiary level but do not have the academic qualifications required of a traditional student, you will be glad to know that there is a way to get around this.
Many of you in the work force today may not have had the chance to study at college or university, choosing instead to enter the working world right out of secondary school. Like many other working adults who may have considered pursuing higher education, you would not have been able to meet the minimum entry requirement of a higher education institution without a pre-university qualification or a first degree.
There is good news, though. In 2011, the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) introduced the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) which enables individuals who have work experience but lack of formal academic qualifications to pursue their studies at higher education institutions. In short, APEL provides an alternative entry route to formal programmes of study for certificate (level 3, Malaysian Qualifications Framework – MQF) to master's (level 7, MQF) through recognition of learning and experiences regardless of how and where it was required.
As a starting point, APEL is only used for admission to a programme of study. Beginning 2011 till August 2015, 651 candidates applied for APEL. Out of this figure, 211 candidates (32%) choose to apply for APEL assessment at diploma level; 181 candidates (28%) choose to apply for APEL assessment at bachelor's degrees level; and 259 candidates (39%) choose to apply for APEL assessment master's degrees level. Out of the total application, 360 candidates have passed the APEL assessment. Nevertheless, following the successful implementation of the APEL assessment for purposes of admission, MQA is in the process of developing the policy and instrument to award credits through APEL.
According to Ministry of Higher Education policy, traditional students applying for full-time courses at higher education institutions need to meet the following entry requirements:
- Certificate programme - minimum of 1 credit at SPM level
- Diploma programme - minimum of 3 credits at SPM level
- Foundation or pre-U - minimum of 5 credits at SPM level
- Bachelor's degree - various pre-university qualifications such as foundation programme, A level, STPM and so on.
In contrast, Malaysian students who are interested to apply for courses at higher education institutions through APEL, the entry requirements are as follows:
- Certificate (Level 3, MQF) - 19 years old at the time of application with relevant work experience and passed APEL assessment.
- Diploma (Level 4, MQF) - 20 years old at the time of application with relevant work experience and passed APEL assessment.
- Bachelor's (Level 6, MQF) - 21 years old at the time of application with relevant work experience and passed APEL assessment.
- Master's (Level 7, MQF) - 30 years old at the time of application with at least STPM/Diploma/equivalent, relevant work experience and passed APEL assessment.
At the moment, for master's level programmes the disciplines are limited to fields of Business, Performing Arts, Information Technology and Education. However, MQA is in the process of considering other disciplines of study to promote wider participation of adult student. Interested individuals are welcomed to submit application for APEL assessment. The following officer can be contacted for assessment inquiries, application and submission:
Puan Noor Hazirah binti Mohamed Yunus
Tel: +603-7968 2253
Email: [email protected]
Puan Izzatyliyana binti Ashaari
Tel: +603-7968 3315
Email: [email protected]
MALAYSIAN QUALIFICATIONS AGENCY (MQA)
Level 14B, Menara PKNS-PJ
No. 17, Jalan Yong Shook Lin
46050 Petaling Jaya
Note: This write-up is edited and revised by MQA