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The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)

The ECDL is a new European-wide qualification which enables people to demonstrate their competence in computer skills. Its aims are:

  • to raise the general level of competency in IT
    to improve productivity at work
    to enable employers to invest more efficiently in IT
    and to ensure that best practice and quality issues are understood and implemented

Frequently asked questions about ECDL

How does it work? The ECDL syllabus is designed to cover the key concepts of computing, its practical applications and their use in the workplace and society in general. It is broken down into seven modules, each of which must be passed before the ECDL certificate is awarded. ECDL is open to anyone - regardless of age, education, experience or background.

The modules are:

Basic concepts of IT
Using the computer and managing files
Word processing

Candidates will purchase a logbook listing all the modules. As they pass each module, the accredited testing body will sign the logbook. The modules may be taken in any order and over any period of time - even all at once - offering maximum flexibility. When all the modules have been successfully completed, the logbook is exchanged for a certificate. Users may, if they wish, just walk in off the street and take the tests. More likely, they will opt for courses based on the ECDL syllabus.

What are the benefits?

for the individual? ECDL is designed to help people at work and at home. It will confirm to potential employers that the person has a professionally recognised, relevant and up-to-date qualification and it will assist in raising familiarity with the technology and its uses.

for the employer? ECDL helps provide proof of competency in the computer skills of potential employees. Similarly, a company looking to train up its workforce will want to ensure that the money they spend on courses is going to be well spent. The proliferation of different courses making varying claims, often without any objective evidence makes a daunting choice for employers and individuals alike.

for the training provider? Colleges and other training providers are well aware of the importance of Information Systems to the world of work - and increasingly, to the individual in their day-to-day life. Indeed, many courses already incorporate elements of the teaching of basic and advanced computer skills - but there is no widely accepted qualification.

Now, a Europe-wide recognised qualification - the European Computer Driving Licence - is set to meet these needs - and more.

Colleges, schools, training companies, etc. may offer courses designed to lead to the passing of the individual parts and the awarding of the certificate. No accreditation is required.

Courses may take any form. It is envisaged that in addition to day and evening classes at colleges and training companies, the contents of the syllabus will be incorporated into school and university curricula. To ensure access to the greatest numbers, they will also be made available via distance learning and on day release.

How are people tested? Testing will be carried out at audited testing centres.
Why is ECDL so effective? ECDL is not like any other qualification - although it utilises the positive aspects of the best.

It is set to become the most widely recognised qualification in the field of work-related computer use, partly because it is targeted at the full spectrum of the population, and partly because of the support and monitoring of the organisations behind it.

The syllabus The syllabus is designed by a panel of European experts. It will be regularly updated to ensure its relevance to the working world and the advances in technologies and practices.
Accreditation Accreditation of testing centres will be strictly controlled. Regular, rigorous audits of the centres will be carried out to ensure compliance with the syllabus and the appropriateness of the testing regimes. Whichever centre the individual uses to take their tests, standards and conformance will be guaranteed.
Conformance Conformance with NVQs - ECDL has been designed to provide conformance with existing qualifications, including NVQs and other established keyboard tests.

The organisations behind ECDL represent the full spectrum of industry and academia. Moreover, it is fully supported by the European Union, thereby ensuring standards and levels of quality throughout Europe.

The implementation of ECDL in the UK is being managed by the British Computer Society.

Frequently asked questions about ECDL

Contact the BCS The ECDL syllabus is available for purchase from:

The British Computer Society
1 Sanford Street
Wiltshire SN1 1HJ

Main BCS switchboard: 01793 417417
ECDL office: 01793 417424
Fax: 01793 480270 

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