The kwaZulu-Nata Department of Education has upgraded the skills of its computer educators by enrolling them on the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) programme – and there are plans to roll the training out across the country. 

Charmian Wightman, regional manager of the ICDL in kwaZulu-Natal, says that by training its educators, the department is ensuring that learners reap the rewards.
In March this year the department enrolled 500 computer educators (both CAT and IT) on the ICDL programme.  NetLearn Update offered the DoE a blended solution, developed in such a way that challenges such as different skills levels, scattered geographical locations and limited time for contact sessions could be overcome.
Comprising seven modules – including basic concepts of IT; using a computer and managing files; word processing; spreadsheets; database; presentations and information and communications – the ICDL is internationally recognised as the global standard in end-user computer skills.
Manuals and computer based training disks were issued to all educators at the outset of the programme ensuring everyone was prepared for the specialised workshops.  The 45-minute testing was conducted on an automated testing platform giving the educators instant results.
Learning centres were set up in 17 locations around the province to accommodate the educators while testing centres were set up in Richards Bay, Vryheid, Ladysmith, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg and Durban.
Schools from Mtubatuba in the north to Vryheid in the west, Port Shepstone in the south as well as schools in Kokstad and Matatiele in the Sisonke district participated in the programme with most giving up their computer rooms to accommodate candidates.
The first round of the certification process was held late in November with over 70% of the 500 educators receiving the minimum pass rate of 75% per module. Top achiever, Thulani Moyane of Inanda Comprehensive High School scored a remarkable 98,3%, while Jennifer Reddy, Amanulla Ibrahim and Shaun Strydom achieved 97,6%, 97% and 96,7% respectively.
The project has been such a success that subject advisors in the DoE have advocated that the ICDL certification be an additional qualification to the professional qualifications of all their computer subject educators.  Plans are afoot to implement the advanced ICDL for all computer educators next year.