ECDL Foundation Supports the Celebration of the World Information Society Day
ENABLING PROFICIENT USE OF ICT THAT EMPOWERS YOUTHS
17 May 2007
For the last 10 years ECDL Foundation has worked to raise the level of ICT Skills in society, to increase users’ confidence in computer usage and create access to the Information Society for all citizens. With its wide range of ICT certification programmes, ECDL Foundation has set the global benchmark in end-user computer skills.
World Information Society Day, celebrated every year on 17th May, aims to raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other ICTs can bring to societies and economies, as well as ways to bridge the digital divide. This celebration promotes awareness of the power of ICT to help build societies where everybody can access, utilise, create and share information and knowledge to achieve their individual potential.
The theme of this year’s World Information Society Day is ‘’Connecting the Young: the opportunities of ICT’’. This theme reflects ECDL Foundation’s commitment to improving digital skills proficiency within the whole society, particularly marginalised groups like youth, people with disabilities and elderly people. This year’s special focus on youth issues aims to address the special requirements of children, especially disadvantaged & marginalised children, and ensure their full inclusion in the Information Society, as a means of offering young people more opportunities and better choice of options for the future.
On the occasion of the World Information Society Day 2007, Damien O’Sullivan, CEO of the ECDL Foundation, said: ‘’We must empower children and young people around the world by giving them the skills to access ICT and to use it to its full potential. This is critical as a means of learning, sharing information and knowledge, and improving communication with others. With the ECDL Foundation certification programmes being accessible to all citizens, irrespective of age, gender, status, ability or race, ECDL Foundation tries to connect all social groups and helps to create a truly open, inclusive and development-orientated Information Society. The ECDL Foundation programmes are available in many countries where governments have made the education of youths a priority, with the ECDL / ICDL programme being a central component.
The ECDL Foundation has National Operators all over the world, which are responsible for the deployment of the ECDL / ICDL programmes in their own countries and are dedicated to raising the level of basic computer competency in their societies. The ECDL / ICDL programmes have been adopted and endorsed by many government ministries and international corporations in an effort to improve skills levels and enhance productivity.
The ICDL programme in Indonesia is endorsed by the Ministry of Education. The endorsement involves the initial accreditation of 80 public vocational training centres for the delivery of ICDL programme training and certification to students who do not have direct access to technological infrastructure for ICT skills. The government decision reflects its commitment to work with ICDL to raise the level of basic computer skills with the purpose of improving people’s prospects to pursue productive careers.
The Ministry of Education in Namibia has undertaken to certify the computer skills of all teachers and students in Namibian schools over the next 5 years using the ICDL certification programme. The ICDL programme is a central component of the Namibian governments’ ICT in Education policy. The first step is currently underway which is the certifying of teachers. In another national education initiative ICDL is being used to increase ICT skills of unemployed youth in rural areas to ensure that they will acquire a recognised ICT qualification.
An integral part of any improvement of society skills is to educate the youth, though in most countries the first step is to educate the educators – the teachers. In Italy, the Ministries of Labour and of Education and the Headmasters Organisation of Italian Universities signed an agreement for the universal recognition of ECDL, initially certifying Headmasters and today more than 600,000 students under 18 have achieved their ECDL. In addition, young people under the age of 18 receive compensation for the purchase of a personal computer, if they have acquired ECDL certification. This has proven to be a very successful project at engaging youth in continuing to develop their ICT skills and usage.
Young people who have not completed formal education can be reached through community training centres, for example in Ireland, the Limerick Youth Service Community Training Centre offers education and skills based training for young people in a non-judgemental, supportive and vibrant environment. Young people are empowered to realise their true potential and are equipped with the personal and social skills to enhance their positive contribution to society. In addition, Youthreach programmes cater for 15-20 year olds with little or no qualifications.
These initiatives use the ECDL programme to help young people achieve some level of qualification. It is important to make sure that young people are not being left behind and ensuring that there are training centres that can provide access to skills training is crucial. The Kingdom of Jordan has established information technology centres to bridge the digital divide and bring technology within reach of women and men who are poor, both young and old, to the most remote areas of Jordan. These centres have brought affordable access to vital information and training, enabling all of Jordan’s communities to use information and communication technologies for self development. NetCorps Jordan is a programme started in 2003 with an aim to actively involve Jordan’s youth in socio-economic development of the country through ICTs. It was launched as part of the national drive to ensure that all Jordanians have the necessary skills to participate in the Information Society.
The ECDL / ICDL programme has achieved remarkable success around the world, internationally recognised in 146 countries through many initiatives like the ones mentioned above, and attracting almost 7 million Candidates to its range of certification programmes. The ECDL Foundation and its National Operators will always work with governments and international organisations to ensure that such projects, which empower youths to reach their full potential through ICT skills development, continue.
For more information please contact:
Tanja Zabukovnik, Communications Executive
T: +353 1 630 6000