Spreading and Certifying Digital Literacy in the World

“While India has produced a lot of highly successful industry leaders globally, as a country of 1.25 billion people, a lot of work still remains to empower the masses on latest technology skills.” says Mr. Damien O’ Sullivan, CEO of ICDL and ECDL.

A walk into a smart classroom or witnessing a student-teacher interaction on technology will distinctly make you judge about the smartness of the students over technology vis-à-vis the teacher’s un-smartness in using it. While you guess ‘why’, the International Computer Driving License (ICDL) Foundation trained, tested and certified computer literacy in over 150 countries to 14 million people through their network of over 24,000 ICDL Accredited Test Centres (ATCs). With the intensifying emphasis of Indian government and the need felt, ICDL recently entered India to achieve computer literacy. In a discussion with BW-Education, Mr. Damien O’ Sullivan, CEO of ICDL and ECDL talks about the ideas and plan forward.

1. We do understand that digital skills is very important in the world today. More than the students, the teachers require digital skills. What are your plans for the teachers?

ICDL Foundation, worldwide works very closely with schools, colleges and universities as an international standard in digital skills. Countries which lead the international rankings in education systems such as UK and Singapore have often used ICDL as a tool to upgrade the digital skills of students and teachers nationally.

Through our extensive experience specifically in the UK, where over 200,000 students get certified on ICDL each year, we have realized the need for stronger digital skills for teachers. Precisely for this reason, we will soon be introducing our first job-role based module titled "ICT in Education". We hope that this Module will address the gap in the digital skills of teachers, which by the way exists not just in India but worldwide.

Education leaders in public and private institutions hold the key to success here, where they have to be invested in upgrading the digital skills of their teachers. ICDL's module for Teachers will not only focus on basic computer proficiency but also on how to effectively use technology to improve the teaching and learning experience.

2. According to your knowledge and prediction, where’s the world heading with digital skills in the next ten years?

The smartphone has created an unprecedented impact on our society and economy alike, making technology ubiquitous. This mini-computer in our hands that permanently sends and receives enormous data has put the spotlight on Data Security and Analytics. Governments and Corporates are grappling with the deluge of data and busy securing it and analyzing it for effective management.

So we feel that a digitally empowered society of the future will be the one where people understand Data security and are proficient in Analytics. We are also closely watching the evolution of the Artificial Intelligence space and expect a few set of digital skills that would percolate at the mass level similar to Computational Thinking or App Development.

3. What are your digital skilling plans in India in the long run?

As an international foundation driven to create a digitally empowered society, India is a priority country for us. While India has produced a lot of highly successful industry leaders globally, as a country of 1.25 billion people, a lot of work still remains to empower the masses on latest technology skills. Therefore, our India specific plan is to support the national initiatives with our basic skills modules and introduce our range of cutting-edge modules in the industry. We have received a lot of interest from various agencies such as National Skills Development Corporation and look forward to achieving our target of empowering a million candidates with international certifications within the next five years.

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