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 European-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.
2015 - OVER 14 MILLION CANDIDATES