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Welcome to our storyCelebrating 20 Years
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The ECDL syllabus, tests, guidelines and procedures are created, followed by a series of ECDL Pilot Projects
A certification tool consisting of a modular set of IT tests called the Computer Driving Licence (CDL) was launched in Finland in January 1994
In 1995, the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS) created a task force, supported by the European Commission through the ESPRIT research programme, to examine how to raise the levels of digital literacy throughout Europe.
Inspired by CDL, a series of meetings took place throughout 1996, resulting in the creation of a syllabus, tests, guidelines and procedures to run ECDL on a European scale followed by the launch of pilot projects in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France and Ireland to test the ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) concept. The first ECDL Certificate was awarded by Dansk Teknologisk Institut in Denmark in June 1996.
ECDL Foundation is established to promote implementation and support quality
ECDL quickly gained European-wide interest and a clear need was identified for a central coordinating body to ensure a consistently high standard of implementation.
On 8 January 1997, ECDL Foundation was incorporated in Dublin, Ireland by eight founding members – the Computer Societies of Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom as well as CEPIS. The Foundation now has 28 members – national Computer Societies or Informatics Associations from 27 different European Countries and CEPIS.
Quality has a high priority and quality assurance procedures were defined and managed by the ECDL Foundation. The quality assurance procedures include use of rigorous authorisation guidelines and compulsory standards. ECDL Foundation perform quality assurance audits to ensure that standards are maintained and the quality of the product is guaranteed.
The International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) is launched
As ECDL gained prominence in Europe, the number of candidates exceeded 100,000 and continued to rise; this success attracted the attention of countries outside of Europe who began to take a strong interest in the concept. ECDL was subsequently introduced outside of Europe, where the certification became known as ICDL (International Computer Driving Licence).
ECDL Foundation presents a paper at the Beijing IFIP World Computer Congress
ECDL Foundation present a paper on ‘Educational Uses of Information and Communication Technologies’ at the IFIP Congress 2000 BEIJING, paving the way for the Chinese government’s later endorsement of ICDL to benchmark its own computer skills programme.
The ECDL-PD Project is launched to identify and address ECDL accessibility issues for people with disabilities
In early 2001, accessibility was identified as a major requirement for ECDL. The ECDL Foundation partnered with an accessibility project, ECDL-PD, which identified issues for people with disabilities in accessing ECDL. It was agreed that ECDL-PD should not create a special or reduced ECDL and that the standard would be maintained while addressing the needs identified in the ECDL-PD project.
This commitment to accessibility is an ongoing process, demonstrated in 2009 when Adrian Davids from Eersteriver in the Western Cape, became the first blind student in Africa to obtain ICDL certification. He completed all seven modules of ICDL within a 10 week period – a remarkable achievement when one considers his circumstances. He now works as an ICDL trainer.
ECDL becomes part of Military Basic Training in Ireland and elsewhere
Military forces in Austria, Ireland, Italy, the UK, and endorse ECDL as part of their basic training.
In the case of the Irish Defence Forces, over 2,000 staff, soldiers and officers have achieved ECDL certification, with ECDL being a pre-requisite for progression to some appointments within the Irish Army.
ECDL is adopted by the UK's National Health Service as the referenced standard for IT training
ECDL is adopted as the standard qualification for IT skills in the UK’s National Health Service. ECDL is offered to all NHS staff and its head office in Birmingham is now an accredited ECDL test centre.
The value of the qualification, which is managed in the UK by the BCS, has been demonstrated by a pilot project at an NHS trust in Manchester. It found that staff who achieve the qualification save an average of 38 minutes a day because they are not struggling with IT.
“That is 38 minutes per person per day that they are not with their PC and 38 minutes more they are spending with patients,” said NHS manager Lavinia Wilkinson.
Four new Modules are launched, EqualSkills, e-Citizen, ImageMaker and WebStarter
Four new modules were developed and launched in 2004.
EqualSkills, a module specially developed to cater for those with no experience whatsoever of computers and the internet
e-Citizen, developed for people with a limited knowledge of computers and the Internet are launched
Image Maker, (later evolved into Image Editing) designed for people who wish to acquire the skills to work with digital images
Web Starter (later evolved into Web Editing) for those who wish to create a simple website, without having to commit to the time and expense of a professional level programme.
Sri Lankan Government and Asian Development Bank sign a landmark agreement sponsoring ICDL
ICDL Sri Lanka sign a landmark agreement with The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), sponsoring 10,000 ICDL examinations for state employees and 100,000 e-Citizen examinations for Sri Lankan citizens.
In order to encourage citizens to qualify in both certification programmes, the government not only reimbursed the full examination costs for candidates who successfully complete the programme, but also reimbursed the training costs for the first 1,000 candidates.
The Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka formally adopted ICDL as the required standard for ICT skills training for its principals and teachers.
Largest ever ICDL implementation gets underway in Egypt
The Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), The Ministry of Education, The Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of State for Administration and Development in collaboration with UNESCO Cairo Office, launch a scholarship project to certify the computer skills of at least 1 million public servants over the next 5 years using ICDL.
Oman Ministry of Manpower endorses ICDL to certify 20,000 students
Oman Ministry of Manpower endorses and adopts ICDL in its Technology Colleges, Vocational Training Centers and Institutes, committing to train more than 20,000 students in an initiative considered as a major step towards maintaining high education and training standards in Oman.
ICDL Asia agree a landmark 95% funding initiative with Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA)
ICDL Asia go from strength to strength, securing this new MoU representing the Singapore Government’s commitment to improving the digital literacy and productivity among the workforce, as well as the Government’s confidence in the value of the ICDL programme.
President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso becomes the 9 millionth ECDL candidate
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission received the 9 millionth ECDL Skills Card at a ceremony highlighting the key role of digital literacy in increasing employability and building a knowledge-based economy in Europe.
Romanian Ministry of Education recognises ECDL as the equivalent to Baccalaureate test in Digital Literacy
Romanian students have the choice to pass the traditional state exam at school or benefit from the opportunity of having an ECDL International qualification.
Since 2010 over 50,000 high school students validated the digital literacy exam at the Baccalaureate by obtaining the ECDL Certificate
Colombia’s e-Citizen programme wins a FRIDA award
Colombia’s e-Citizen programme wins a FRIDA award for helping 110,000 police officers develop essential digital skills. The e-Citizen programme for the National Police in Colombia is awarded the prestigious pan-Latin America FRIDA prize for its contribution to the development of the information society in Colombia. As a result of the programme, more than 70% of all police officers in Colombia are now e-Citizen certified.
‘New ECDL’ is introduced
New ECDL is a major revision of the programme, developed to reflect technology changes and labour market requirements.
The key changes to the programme include more flexibility, more suitability to lifelong learning and a wider range of modules, as well as the introduction of personalized ECDL Profiles.
United Nations endorse ICDL for UN Mission Staff
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) established an ICDL ATC. By 2015, the success of the programme lead to the establishment of an ATC at United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and further collaboration between the UN and ICDL to upskill UN staff.
“The ICDL is becoming a well-known program at the UN and more and more staff are hearing about its benefits and getting interested in preparing for it. We are at the same time extending our network of trainers through Train the Trainer programs in several duty stations.”
Christian Gottlicher, Head of IT Learning, United Nations Headquarters in New York
ECDL Foundation launches the Digital Marketing Module in Milan
ECDL Foundation launches a new Digital Marketing Module in Milan.
This module sets out essential concepts and skills relating to the fundamentals of digital marketing, including creating a web presence, optimising content for search engines, using social media platforms, carrying out online marketing and advertising across a range of services, as well as monitoring and improving campaigns using analytics.