Empower school learners while still at school and they will be victorious in a world where proficient use of ICT is critically important. This is the view of the country’s education departments as they embark on a campaign to further educate learners in the field of IT by making the internationally recognised International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) qualification mandatory. 

So far, two of the country’s provinces have instituted the ICDL programme as a compulsory course at their schools for both learners and teachers. The Western Cape Education Department is the most recent educational institute to enrol almost 100 of their Education Management and Development Centre (EDMC) staff on the programme.
In addition, the South African Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has implemented the programme for many of their prisons offenders and the Department of Communications is in the process of sponsoring 2 000 unemployed candidates to participate in the programme through Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges.
“The endorsement of the ICDL programme in many learning institutions is indicative of the commitment the various departments of Education have to developing their most valuable resource – its learners,” says Jennifer van Niekerk, CEO of the ICDL in South Africa.
“Many educators believe the ICDL programme is the only initiative that offers a packaged solution for complete computer literacy in a world where an IT qualification is the defacto standard in business success,” says van Niekerk.
Those educators who have completed the programme have confirmed it has taught them different ways to access information from their computers and afforded them the opportunity to enhance their computer literacy.  Many also feel more confident in their abilities to teach in the classroom.
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.
Obtaining the ICDL certification requires commitment and dedication and a candidate must demonstrate practical proficiency in each of the most commonly used software tools. The candidate has to pass four modules to obtain the ‘Start Certificate’ and all seven modules for a ‘Full Certificate’ with a 75% pass mark.  
ICDL certification (known as the European Computer Driving Licence in Europe) is available in 150 countries globally and has been translated into 38 languages. The ICDL has been adopted by governments, international organisations and the international business community.
The 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 organisation recently received a high profile boost during the Ministerial Trade Mission of Irish Prime Minister, Mr. Bertie Ahern, who commended the organisation on its achievements.
The International Foundation recently celebrated issuing its 7-millionth candidate registration.