Sport coaches provide positive experiences in sport for millions of South Africans every year. Coaching is in a pivotal position to support transformation in that it promotes engagement and inclusion, contributes to health and wellbeing as well as contributing to sporting success on the international stage. Following the launch of the South African Coaching Framework in November 2011 an agreement was reached between South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) for a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) pilot project for coaches and coach developers.
Coach developers are defined as ‘trained facilitators’ who work directly or through more experienced coaches and experts to develop, support and challenge coaches to go on improving their knowledge and skills, in order to provide positive sport experiences for all participants. They come from all walks of life and have expertise in one or more disciplines such as sport specific technical coaching, coaching pedagogy, sport science/medicine, coaching contexts. The selection of these key personnel is vital to the success of the implementation of the South African Coaching Framework.
This RPL project focuses on recognising and validating the knowledge, skills and competences of coaches who will be the SASCOC coach developers, and who will function as part of the nationwide workforce to design and deliver coach education programmes at national, provincial and district levels.
Procedures and processes
Credit accumulation. The focus of this RPL project is on credit accumulation towards the achievement of credits for the Occupational Educator, Trainer, and Development Practitioner qualification. RPL takes place against some of the unit standards related to facilitation, assessment and moderation at levels 5 and 6 of the NQF. The target group for this project are national and provincial coaches of 11 national sports codes in South Africa.
Combining RPL and further learning in coach education. The project aims to provide access to RPL and further learning towards the achievement of part qualifications and qualifications for sport coaches and coach developers. Initially 11 national federations have been involved based on their state of readiness and their engagement within the SASCOC National Coach Developer Programme. A key first step in the process was the alignment of national federation programmes in coach education with the South African model for Long Term Coach Development (LTCD) and the NQF. National federations had been identified as being in a position to progress with the first phase of the pilot project.
Developing Coaching Framework. The SASCOC National Long Term Coaching Framework is developed in line with international benchmarks. The framework comprises designation from assistant coach to master coach. Each designation has a clear outcome and experience statement, which form the basis of the outcomes from which the RPL process can be conducted. This was done to ensure that the coach developers would be able to understand the context of what they would need to do, when they assessed the various coaches against the designations listed on the coaching framework.
Outcomes and ways forward
Both SAQA and SASCOC view this project as a very important step in promoting learning pathways, qualifications and transformational opportunities for coaches and coach developers in South Africa. To become effective across a range of roles and in a dynamic environment, coaches need high quality training and support.
A fundamental success factor is that RPL services are consistently priced.
SAQA guides strategy and planning through expert advice and support ensuring: (a) the direct and indirect physical, infrastructural, human and financial capacity to build and maintain RPL; (b) the creation of opportunities for equitable access to RPL; and (c) the integrity of processes and protection of outcomes.
Source: UNESCO UIL