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Home > News > January 2005 > 05-Jan-2004

ECDL foundation calls for digital literacy to be given priority in European education strategy

The European Computer Driving Licence Foundation (ECDL-F) has called for digital literacy to be placed at the heart of Europe's education strategy.

ECDL Foundation CEO, Mr David Carpenter said, "As an organisation committed to providing access for all to the Information Society, the ECDL-F is calling on all education decision-makers across the EU to put digital literacy firmly at the heart of education policy.

"In recent years, governments and organisations across the EU have concentrated on providing citizens with access to computer technology, hardware and infrastructure. This has been an important first step towards giving all citizens access to the information society and the next step must be to concentrate on providing citizens with the skills required to use that technology and, therefore, to function successfully in the information society.

"Digital literacy is a key issue for Europe's future socio-economic progress and our education systems will have a major role to play."

Mr Carpenter's comments were made on the eve of last month's conference on ‘Strengthening European Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training'. The Maastricht conference, which was organised by the European Commission and the Dutch Presidency, was attended by 31 Ministers, the European Social Partners, the European Commission and more than 600 individuals and organisations in the education and vocational training sector from across the EU.

The ECDL-F attended the conference to showcase its European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) certification, which was introduced in 1997 and part-funded by the EU Commission through its Leonardo Da Vinci Programme. With more than 4.5 million Candidates to date, ECDL is available in 138 countries and has been translated into 36 languages.

Mr Carpenter went on to add, "In recent years we have witnessed the growth of a digital divide between those who can access the information society and those who cannot.

"One of the major goals for the ECDL-F is to help bridge that digital divide by providing a range of certifications that give all citizens the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to participate fully in the information society.

"As the world's leading end-user computer skills certification body, we would submit that providing all citizens with access to certified skills will be a key element in our success or failure to bridge the digital divide. Education systems are of vital importance in providing those skills. It is only by placing digital literacy at the heart of education strategy that we can ensure our ultimate success."

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