Brussels, 12th February 2009: José Manuel Barroso, President of European Commission received the 9 millionth ECDL Skills Card at a ceremony highlighting both the success of the ECDL program and the necessity of keeping investment in digital skills high on the public policy agendas of all Member States in order to increase employability and build a competitive European economy. Accepting the ECDL Skills Card, President Barroso stressed that digital literacy skills are essential for Europeans and stated that the Commission is proud to have been at the origin of the great work of the ECDL program and its amazing progress in reaching 9 million Skills Cards. You can look here at the video of the ceremony.
Digital literacy is part of basic competences such as reading and writing
President Barroso noted that digital literacy is part of basic competences such as reading and writing and that this is the message the Commission is conveying to all European citizens; in this difficult economic situation many workers will need to be re-trained and the digital competences they can gain will help them find new opportunities for a better life.
To help address the economic situation, the Commission has launched the European Economic Recovery plan which calls for smart investment to yield higher growth and sustainable prosperity in the longer-term. It calls on Member States to invest more in education and re-training to protect Europe’s citizens from the worst of the economic crisis. As part of this plan, the European Commission has proposed a 1 billion investment to bring broadband to rural areas. However unless this investment is supplemented with IT training, Europe risks an additional widening of the digital divide in areas where digital literacy levels already lag behind the European average according to a 2008 Eurostat report which indicated that in 2007, 49% of citizens in sparsely populated areas never used the internet.
Digital skills training enables societyÂ
Prior to the presentation ceremony, in a meeting on the contribution of digital literacy to making Europe a leading knowledge-based economy, ECDL Foundation delegation welcomed President Barroso’s view that digital skills training enables society to fully reap the benefits of technology.
Speaking at the event, Jim Friars, Chairperson of the ECDL Foundation Board, noted that ECDL is a true European success story, outlining how the original concept was developed with the support of EC funding. By presenting the ECDL Skills Card to President Barroso, ECDL Foundation recognizes the Commission’s work to empower individuals by creating better employment opportunities and an inclusive information society. Damien O’Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of ECDL Foundation noted that ECDL Foundation is proud to present the 9 millionth skills card to President Barroso to highlight the organization’s success in delivering digital literacy to Europe. Yet with 40% of Europeans still without the basic skills needed to use the Internet, much remains to be done. Mr O’Sullivan underlined the commitment of ECDL Foundation to the objectives of the i2010 Strategy as digital literacy is a key enabler for building an inclusive information society and a knowledge-based economy.
In these difficult times, cutting back on education and training for digital skills might impede Canada capability to fully recover from the economic crisis. Instead, ICDL Canada calls upon governments to increase and accelerate investments in training and education as the current conditions present an opportunity for Canada at the end of the economic recession to emerge as a more dynamic and competitive economy. Furthermore, ICDL Canada urges governments, business and society to work together to address the current challenges and remain focused on the objectives of the strategy for growth and jobs.
About ECDL Foundation ECDL Foundation is the global standards and certification body for the ECDL and ICDL end-user computer skills certification programs. It’s a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of computer skills in society and providing access for all to the Information Society. With over 9 million candidates participating in a range of programs, ECDL Foundation has set the global benchmark in end-user skills certification.
What is an ECDL Skills Card? The ECDL/ICDL Skills Card is the first step in obtaining the internationally recognized ECDL/ICDL Certification. It denotes the candidate registration and is used to record progress through the various modules that make up the program, the successful completion of which leads to ECDL / ICDL certification.
About ICDL Canada ICDL Canada has been set up under an exclusive licensing arrangement to promote the ICDL concept in Canada. ECDL and ICDL are the same standard ( ‘E’ for Europe countries and ‘I’ for International). The standards are updated regularly and the Foundation monitors the 148 country licensees world wide. ITAC, The Information Technology Association of Canada and CIPS, The Canadian Information Processing Society have endorsed ICDL Canada. ICDL Canada offers a spectrum of computer use skill certifications from basic level through full workplace and post secondary competence to power user levels. Custom Testing services facilitates ICDL certification in locations nearest to candidates across Canada.
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