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20 Extraordinary ICDL Testing Centres

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1. Dora, the mobile learning centre in Christchurch, New Zealand

Dora, the high-tech mobile learning centre was purchased from Alexandra, where it had operated as a school bus since 1985. Dora was reinvented as a mobile digital learning centre in 2011 after the Christchurch earthquakes, to support the ‘Stepping Up’ classes in Christchurch. Dora went on to become an authorised mobile ICDL testing facility in 2012 complete with accredited testers. Dora currently resides on the West Coast of the South Island where it is fully utilised by community groups and schools. With Dora as a fully functioning independent mobile learning and testing centre, ICDL training and testing can be provided to any region.

2. Emirates Aviation College in Dubai, UAE

The Emirates Aviation College offering Aerospace & Academic Studies, first endorsed the ICDL programme as the IT competency standard for its students and staff in 2006. The move made Emirates the region’s first airline to have an in-house ICDL-accredited IT literacy training centre.

A fast-growing international airline with one of the youngest fleets in the sky, Emirates Airlines has won numerous awards for excellence worldwide, including being voted the world’s best airline (World Airline Awards 2016). Emirates Airlines flies to more than 100 destinations in over 60 countries, and has more than 10,000 cabin crew staff. The Emirates Training College building located in Dubai was built in 1995, and to this day remains one of its most recognisable buildings.

3. The Communities of Tămăşeni and Gherăeşti in Romania

The Campostrini Sisters of Tămăşeni – Gherăeşti in Romania have managed an accredited ECDL testing centre since 2006. Over 300 community members have registered for ECDL at this test centre in Tămăşeni, managed entirely by the parish. The Campostrini Sisters are part of the Teodora Campostrini Foundation, founded in Italy in 1818.

4. The Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

In 2016, the Irish Embassy in Ethiopia was accredited as an ICDL Accredited Test Centre. The aim is to develop and enhance the digital skills of all Embassy staff. The Embassy chose ICDL because it offers training and testing solutions that are flexible, which help to close the digital skills gap among staff in the workplace, and because it is an internationally recognised qualification.

This move makes the Irish Embassy in Ethiopia the first in the world to become an ICDL accredited test centre.

5. English Language and Computing Learning Centres (ELCLCs) in Afghanistan

The English Language and Computing Learning Centres (ELCLCs) aim to enhance English language and IT skills in Afghan Universities. These centres have provided instruction through Computer Assisted Language Learning, office automation and internet skills through International Certifications. ELCLCs are present in 6 Afghan universities: Kabul University, Kabul Polytechnic University, Balkh University, Herat University, Nangarhar University, and Kandahar University.

ICDL is part of the curriculum taught to approximately 10,000 students across their network each year.

6. The Yap State Public Auditor’s Office in Yap, Micronesia

Yap, a state within Micronesia consisting of several main and outer islands, is home to 11,000 people – and an ICDL accredited testing centre. The Yap State Office of the Public Auditor (OPA) is, as of 2016, in the process of certifying all staff with ICDL. The Public Auditor has recognised the need for the staff to acquire and improve new and existing computer skills. The staff have reported they apply these new skills to complete their duties with more effectiveness, a higher level of confidence, and with a greater sense of job satisfaction.

7. Sunshine Project for special needs adults and adolescents in Harare, Zimbabwe

The Sunshine Zimbabwe Project was established in 2011 to provide intellectually disabled adolescents and adults with a relevant and inclusive education that prepares them for employment and independence within the community. The project offers training in literacy and numeracy, digital skills, and life skills in an empowering and inclusive environment; they became an accredited ICDL testing centre in January 2016.

8. Zaatari, Murijep al Fhoud, and Azraq Refugee Camps in Jordan

In 2014, the Norwegian Refugee Council opened an accredited test centre in the Zaatari refugee camp. Since then ICDL has become so popular among the camp’s young refugees, that the accreditation of centres in the Murijep al Fhoud and Azraq camps soon followed. Combined, these camps have more than 130,000 residents, half of whom are children.

The Norwegian Refugee Council’s Youth Project Manager believes that ICDL bridges the digital gap between youth in the camps and their peers abroad, creating an academic path for them and providing them with the skills that give them the chance to give back to their communities; he finds that the programme seeks to revive the aspirations of Syrian youth and make a positive difference in their lives.

In July 2016, The Norwegian Refugee Council celebrated granting its 1,000th ICDL certificate to a refugee.

Zaatari Refugee Camp

9. The Falkland Islands Education Department training centre

The Falkland Islands, a remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, provides vocational learning and development to its 3,000 residents through their government Education Department’s training centre. The aim of this centre is to raise the level of knowledge and the skills base of young people and adults of all abilities, to support the development and capacity for a self-sustaining economy on the Falkland Islands. Alongside hands-on courses for plumbers, chefs, carpenters, and other such skilled trades, one of the classroom based courses offered was ECDL certification, as part of the centre’s mission to develop a multi-skilled society through the provision of lifelong learning opportunities and structured training programmes.

10. St. Nicholas’ Home in Penang, Malaysia

Standing as the first and the oldest non-profit school for the blind in Malaysia, St. Nicholas' Home in Penang has lent its efforts to help improve the lives of the blind and the visually impaired for over 88 years. Established in 1926, they have provided over 15 different programmes which are all looking to help the blind and visually impaired in varying areas such as education, independent living skills, social and communication skills, and ICT. Digital Skills have been taught through the ICDL programme, and through the Home’s effective use of technology the students realise their individual capacities and move beyond their impairment.

11. The island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean; it is the world’s northernmost settlement with a permanent human population. Spitsbergen island, the largest island of Svalbard, is home to an accredited testing centre.

12. The Government Treasury Department of Tuvalu

The Treasury Department of the Government of Tuvalu was accredited by ICDL Asia in 2013. The move was to offer the ICDL programme across many government departments and to eventually extend to the wider community.

The island nation of Tuvalu is the world’s third smallest country, with a population of just over 10,000 people.

13. Pollsmoor & Malmesbury Correctional Facilities in South Africa

The South African Department of Correctional Services (DCS) have chosen ICDL to provide ex-offenders practical skills needed in the workplace upon their release from correctional facilities. To commence this project, DCS first arranged a pilot rollout at Pollsmoor Correctional Centre and Malmesbury Correctional Centre in 2007, which became the first two ICDL prison centres in the world.

The project was a great success reducing tension at the prisons while preparing offenders for employment after their release.

14. On board the submarines and frigates of the Royal Netherlands Naval Fleet

In 2004, Commander Peter Appels of the Royal Netherlands Naval Fleet discovered ECDL at a trade fair. He immediately liked the idea of using ECDL certification for Naval staff training to improve their competencies in computer use. By 2009, some 800 courses were being provided each year from the main testing centre in Amsterdam, with six additional locations operational within the Institute network including on board some of the Royal Netherlands Submarines and Frigates.

The introduction of ECDL was credited with allowing greater flexibility to the officers and soldiers. This enabled the fleet to pursue new roles in the Armed Services and provided an important front line tool for new candidates with basic skills, as well as ensuring that soldiers and staff could stay in contact with family while overseas.

15. Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in Hanoi, Vietnam

The Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is a grassroots charity that reaches out to children in crisis throughout Vietnam.

Blue Dragon kids are street kids; children from very poor families, and victims of human trafficking and slavery.

In 2007, the Foundation was accredited as an ICDL testing centre, and training began to be offered as part of ‘Step Ahead’, an Individual Assistance Programme tailored to each child with the long-term goal of helping them break out of poverty.

16. ECDL classrooms in hospitals across Romania

Between 2010 and 2013, the Romanian Ministry of Health rolled out ECDL and computer-use training for nurses. The aim was to improve the overall mobility and adaptability of the country’s medical staff. Training took place in accredited ECDL classrooms established in 198 health centres all over Romania; more than 4,400 nurses were trained, of which 2,563 obtained the ECDL Start certificate.

17. Emerald Hill Children’s Home, an orphanage in Harare, Zimbabwe

Emerald Hill Children’s Home (EHCH) is a voluntary organisation in Harare, Zimbabwe that is home to approximately 90 orphaned and vulnerable children aged between 3 and 20 years old.

Many of the older children in EHCH’s care have never attended school. Because of this, the team at EHCH must quickly bring the children’s capabilities up to the established standards for their age group.

The project aims to equip the children with basic end-user computer skills and helps to develop each child to his or her full potential – intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.

The child’s ICDL journey, from learning new ICT skills through to passing their ICDL test, helps building their self-confidence and helps them achieve the basic professional and academic qualifications needed to enter the job market upon leaving.

18. Nenasala telecentres across Sri Lanka

Nenasala (meaning ‘Wisdom Outlet’) is a telecentre project operated by the Sri Lankan Government, intended to bring digital technology to those in rural areas.

Many of these centres were set up in Northern Province following the end of the 27-year-long civil war to develop the economy, infrastructure, social and educational spheres in the areas that had been most affected.

Among the programmes offered by these centres is ICDL; as of 2016 there were 838 Nenasala’s island-wide.

Nenasala in Bibile, Uva Province

19. St. Mary’s School on the island of Tristan da Cunha

The volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited place on Earth. It is over 2,000km away from the nearest inhabited land of St. Helena and 2,400km away from the nearest continental land of South Africa. As of May, 2016 the island is home to 266 people.

St. Mary’s School, the island’s only school, educates children between the ages of 3 and 16 and has been an accredited ICDL testing centre since 2002.

20. Montfort Boy’s Town in Batu Tiga, Malaysia

Montfort Boys Town was established in 1959 at an abandoned rubber plantation in Batu Tiga, Selangor, Malaysia.

Today, Montfort continues to provide a positive space for learning and living for underprivileged youths, offering training programmes designed to take their lives to new heights by providing them with the skills required for the job market.

In 2010, ICDL was successfully integrated into the academic curriculum at Montfort Boy’s Town, and was expanded to their Montfort Youth Centre in Malacca.

Tags: Celebrating 20 Years of ECDL