On September 4th New ICDL was officially launched in Zambia, bringing together key stakeholders in ICT in Zambia to discuss how best capitalise on the new structure of ICDL. Nearly 40 people attended the launch which took place at Topfloor (an ICDL Accredited Test Centre) in Lusaka with delegates coming from many parts of Zambia, as well as ICDL representatives from Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Jane Shoko, Country Co-ordinator, welcomed delegates with an update of activities in Zambia. Following this, Geoff Fairall, Executive Director of the Computer Society of Zimbabwe (which is responsible for accrediting test centres in Zambia) gave an update of how the ICDL programme is growing around the globe, as well as a detailed explanation of New ICDL.
Guest of honour at the launch was Mrs. Christine Mayondi, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Education. With the launch described as ‘ICT Skills through ICDL – A tool for development and better business’, Mrs. Mayondi noted that people were consuming ICT services more than ever before. Mrs. Mayondi gave examples of how the Zambian Government were committed to ICT initiatives from the National ICT Policy to computer skills in the curriculum. While commending ICDL Africa for the development of the programme and the flexibility and relevance of New ICDL – Mrs. Mayondi was enthusiastic about how ICDL can be integrated into the educational and work environment throughout Zambia, stating that her office would write an introductory letter to learning institutions encouraging them to embrace ICDL.
Following this, Mrs. Priscah Chellah, a representative from TEVETA (Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority) addressed the room and advocated the need for any ICT training to reach rural areas. She also stressed the importance of ICDL in primary and secondary schools as a way to offload problems faced in higher institutions of learning.
In the breakaway sessions delegates shared their positive experiences of ICDL at their test centres as well as discussing how to implement New ICDL and the opportunities it will create for them to re-engage with former candidates as well as attracting new candidates who wish to certify their computer skills to the international standard. Viola Dondo, Deputy Director CSZ gave a presentation on how to use social media to spread the word about ICDL, there was also active use of Twitter during the event to keep everyone up to date. Closing remarks and thanks were made by Mark Bennett, Managing Director of iSchool – who thanked special guests and all in attendance for their active contribution to the launch of New ICDL in Zambia.