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Rushana Hartnick | A Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) success story

30 June 2022

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While working as an au pair, Rushana Hartnick trained as a swimming instructor because she envisioned establishing a swimming centre in her community. She wanted to offer water safety and swimming to children in the Mitchells Plain area, where not many homeowners had swimming pools. As a result, the Little Mermaid Swim School was founded in 2012.

But, with no background in business or higher education behind her name, she struggled to grow her swimming school and realised she needed business skills. So, in 2014, she joined the Small Business Academy (SBA) Development Programme of the Stellenbosch Business School.

The year 2017 turned out to be difficult due to strict water restrictions and she had to find alternative ways to continue to run her business. During this time, she also applied for the Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration (PGDip BMA) at the business school. She was accepted through the recognition of prior learning (RPL) system with her SBA certificate and business experience. RPL acknowledges that students have acquired various skills, competencies, and experiences.

However, the PGDip BMA was just a building block to reaching her dream of doing her MBA, which she successfully obtained in 2019. Her reasons for enrolling for an MBA were growing her network, acquiring credibility, and enhancing her knowledge and personal development.

Since then, her swimming school had grown from servicing 35 children when she started, to teaching 500 kids per week while also providing an aftercare facility. She also wanted to return to her family, business and community and make a remarkable difference. And that, indeed, she has done.

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