ICDL is the world’s leading digital skills certification, which helps people to develop and certify their skills in using a computer. Consisting of a number of modules, with the flexibility for teachers to choose the topics that meet the needs of their students, ICDL is an ideal way for schools to help develop their students’ digital skills.

Schools around the world use ICDL. The programme offers both flexibility, and a range of levels, along with an up-to-date offering that is kept to rigorously high standards around the world. Students can benefit from an internationally recognised certification that is mapped to a number of qualifications frameworks and standards, and which integrates with curricula in several countries.

To date, over 16,000,000 people have engaged with ICDL, and thousands of schools, colleges and universities have adopted ICDL to build and certify their students’ digital skills.

Examples of ICDL in education

USA

ICDL is officially recognised as being aligned with the ISTE Standards. ISTE, a global organisation committed to educational technology, has created the ISTE Standards to provide a framework that helps educators transform learning with technology. ICDL received an ISTE Seal of Alignment in May 2017.

Romania

ICDL is recognised as being equivalent to a Baccalaureate test in digital literacy in Romania. The recognition by the Ministry of Education means that students have the choice to pass either the traditional state exam, or to take ECDL certification tests to gain an internationally recognised qualification.

Italy

A number of universities in Italy give academic credits for completing ECDL certification, and some require ECDL as a pre-requisite for certain majors. Bocconi University in Milan requires candidates on most of their degree programmes to attain ECDL certification.

UK

Certifying your digital skills can help you get into university in the UK. ECDL Advanced certification is worth 24 UCAS Points, which can count towards entry requirements for many university courses across the country.

QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORKS

ICDL is mapped to national qualifications frameworks in several countries worldwide. Qualifications frameworks make it easy to compare qualifications and certifications from different countries with each other. Across Africa, thousands of schools have adopted ICDL to certify the digital skills of their students and staff. Using the flexibility of the ICDL Profile structure, schools can choose the modules that help build the skills their students need the most.

Why are digital skills important?

In both our private lives, and our working lives, technology is already indispensable. There are few, if any, jobs that don’t need some level of computer use, and government and commercial services, like tax, unemployment, insurance, or health-care, are increasingly online.

In short, nobody can get by without digital skills. But, just as nobody can get by without digital skills, it is also the case that nobody is born with the ability to use a computer. Digital competences have to be learnt. ‘Digital natives’, born with the ability to do anything with a computer, don’t exist, they are created through learning.

Digital skills, from the basic digital literacy of working with files and folders, and getting about online, to the more advanced topics of coding, developing ‘information literacy’, and understanding how to stay safe online, should be a key part of any young persons’ education. Being equipped with the right digital skills means being equipped for the future of work and life.

Does certification matter?

There are lots of ways to learn how to use a computer, but research done by partners of ICDL Foundation shows that proving acquired skills with certification is key to truly equipping people with useful competences.

A study in Austria compared peoples’ perception of their digital skills with the reality as shown through a test. 94% of participants thought their digital skills were ‘average’ to ‘very good’. After testing, only 39% did that well. A parallel study in Switzerland found that people with digital skills certification did 24% better than average in practical tests of digital skills. Studies elsewhere in Europe and beyond have shown similar results.

As well as proving skills acquired, certification also validates the quality of training, showing that students have really take in what they studies, and providing a motivation to complete the course.

“I’m really glad it is an international qualification because I want to be able to study and work in a number of different countries and the ICDL is known everywhere – it is a common currency” 

– 16 year-old Dalyn Capes, student, Zambia

“No more boredom in my classes. Students enjoy watching the slides I prepare using PowerPoint, and participate actively” 

– Majeda, 8th grade teacher, Jordan

“Students who complete the ICDL in their schools have considerably better chances for the career entry.” 

– Project study performed by the Institute for Education Research and Adult Education at secondary and vocational schools in Germany

“ICDL represents not only a way for everybody to raise the level of their abilities, but it is also a real chance both for students and teachers to obtain an international certification of their computer skills. The students who already got the ICDL certificate have better employment opportunities as this certificate gives the employer a certain trust in the employee.” 

– Professor Diana Nicoleta Chirila, Octavian Goga National College, Romania

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