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International kudos for prison training scheme

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The partnership between the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) received world acclaim this week. It was announced in Parliament that the ICDL was nominated for a Best Practice Award by the European Computer Driving Licence Foundation (ECDL) for its partnership with the DCS in assisting offenders to maximise their ability to return to the workplace with real skills. 

The objective of the Best Practice Award is for the ECDL Foundation Licensees to recognise and acknowledge licensee initiatives/projects that they consider to be successful examples of best practice in the implementation of the ECDL Foundation programmes.  
In August this year, 40 offenders (20 from Pollsmoor and 20 from Malmesbury Prisons) obtained their ICDL certification after completing their ICDL examinations as part of the offender development program.  The South African DCS is the first Correctional institution in the world to offer an International Computer Literacy certification on an Open Source platform to offenders.  
The offenders from Malmesbury and Pollsmoor are also the first candidates in the world to be tested on the open source automated testing software which was developed in South Africa.  The software was launched in Barcelona on 18 October 2007 to the other 150 ECDL/ICDL Licensees.   
“The ECDL Foundation has nominated this project as it believes it shows commitment and dedication by government to skills upliftment and people development,” says Jennifer van Niekerk, CEO of the ICDL in South Africa.
Dennis Bloem, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee for DCS, commends the organisation for the work it is doing.
The ICDL program is run in over 150 countries worldwide and has 7-million candidates registered on the programme.
ICDL in South Africa is a non-profit organisation established to promote digital literacy to all and to administer the global quality standard in end user computing, the ICDL.  More than 200 000 candidates have registered to do the ICDL certification programme in South Africa.