ICDL is an international organisation dedicated to raising digital competence standards in the workforce, education and society. Our certification programmes, delivered through an active network in more than 100 countries, enable individuals and organisations to assess, build and certify their competence in the use of computers and digital tools to the globally-recognised ICDL standard.
As a non-profit social enterprise, ICDL benefits from the unique support of experts from national computer societies and partners worldwide to develop vendor-independent standards that define the skills and knowledge required to use digital technology effectively. We work with education and training partners, local and regional authorities, national governments, international development organisations as well as public and private sector employers in all sectors, in the delivery of our programmes.
The quality and reputation of ICDL is built on over twenty years of experience in delivering our certification programmes to over 15 million people and in more than 40 languages worldwide, with more than 2.5 million ICDL tests taken annually. Our success is maintained by our ongoing innovation in certification programme development, our commitment to rigorous test design methodologies, and consistent adherence to our quality assurance standards.
ICDL supports the initiatives of National Operators of the programme in Europe and the Arab States from our headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and our ICDL Europe office in Brussels, Belgium. We have also established three regional operations – ICDL Africa (based in Rwanda), ICDL Asia (based in Singapore) and ICDL Americas (based in Panama). All ICDL operations work closely with regional, national and local partners to develop the global network of ICDL Accredited Test Centres.
What is ICDL and how does it work?
ICDL mission is to enable proficient use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that empowers individuals, organisations and society, through the development, promotion, and delivery of quality certification programmes throughout the world.
ICDL’s values are:
- Social Responsibility: as a not-for-profit organisation, we are committed to improving digital skills proficiency within society. Our certification programmes are designed to be accessible to all citizens, irrespective of age, gender, status, ability or race.
- Vendor Independence: our certification programmes give candidates the flexibility and freedom to acquire digital skills and confidently apply them in any software environment that they may be required to use.
- Quality: we strive for continuous improvements in all that we do and ensure that our programmes are implemented to consistent standards internationally.
ICDL’s certification programmes are designed, validated, and approved by academics and industry experts from around the world. We continually develop our range of certification programmes, in line with market needs and technological advancements.
Worldwide quality assurance of ICDL certification programmes
ICDL defines Quality Assurance Standards, which all National Operators must adhere to in the implementation and promotion of our certification programmes. We regularly visit and audit the National Operators of our programmes, and all Accredited Test Centres within a country are regularly audited by the National Operator. These audits ensure that programme delivery around the world is consistent with our Quality Assurance Standards and that the international reputation for the quality of our programmes is upheld.
ICDL is committed to the development, promotion, and delivery of quality certification programmes so as to enable proficient use of ICT that empowers individuals, organisations and society throughout the world.
To meet the needs of all our customers, ICDL has established a Quality Management System based on the internationally recognised quality standard ISO 9001:2015.
Adherence to this standard ensures that the processes used by ICDL to develop and support its certification programmes, are effective, efficient, and subject to continuous evaluation and improvement.
1995 – CEPIS task force creates ECDL concept
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. The new certification programme was launched as the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) in Sweden in August 1996.
1997 – ECDL Foundation established
ECDL quickly gained Europe-wide acceptance, and a clear need was identified for the project to establish a central coordinating body to ensure a consistently high standard of implementation in all European countries. On the 8th January 1997, ECDL Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, limited by guarantee with no share capital, was formally established in Dublin, Ireland.
1999 – ICDL introduced
As ECDL gained prominence in Europe, the number of candidates exceeded 1 million 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).
Computer societies and international organisations in Africa and South America began promoting ICDL, and a milestone was reached in 1999, when UNESCO, through its Cairo office, signed an agreement with ECDL Foundation to become the national operator for several Arab States. Shortly afterwards, ICDL was launched in the North American and Asian markets.
2003 – ECDL Advanced introduced
ECDL Foundation expanded its programme range in 2003, with the launch of ECDL Advanced, a high-level certification programme designed for those who have successfully reached ECDL skills levels and wish to further enhance their computer proficiency.
2009 – Over 9 million candidates
ECDL Foundation is now recognised as a credible international voice and advocate on digital literacy issues, and works with other international organisations in the ongoing promotion of digital literacy as an important contributor for increased economic and social cohesion. In February 2009, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission became the 9 millionth ECDL candidate at a ceremony highlighting both the success of the ECDL programme and the necessity of keeping investment in digital skills high on the public policy agendas of all EU Member States.
2013 – Over 12 million candidates
ECDL Foundation continues to work with its National Operators to extend the reach of its certification programmes through an international network of approximately 24,000 Test Centres.