Not-for-profit IT competency and skills examination provider EXIN South Pacific (the Examination Institute for Information Science) has taken over from the Australian Computer Society as the exclusive national provider of the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL).
The ICDL is a vendor-neutral competency standard for computer literacy in over 150 countries, and aims to teach people how to "drive" a computer with the same ease as a vehicle.
EXIN took over the certification processes, marketing and business development of ICDL in Australia from the ACS at the beginning of the month. EXIN South Pacific MD Peter Cross said the examination provider plans to expand the number of accredited test centres supporting ICDL in Australia.
"To further enhance the value of ICDL in Australia, we also intend to introduce a range of new products and to ramp up lobbying activity to education, government and industry organisations so they will embrace ICDL. It is an ideal standard by which we can all work together to improve digital literacy standards in Australia," he said.
ACS CEO Kim Denham said ICT literacy is a life skill and Australia needs a nationally consistent standard for ICT literacy in schools that is applied and tested in the same way as national standards for numeracy and literacy.
"Strong ICT literacy amongst the population is essential for Australia's sustained prosperity. ICDL standard has continued to spread over the years and so have the benefits, as more employers use it to drive productivity and to measure the PC skills of staff and job candidates. We have no doubt that there are tremendous benefits for both employees and employers in embracing ICDL training and testing.
"Having EXIN South Pacific take over the ICDL licence in Australia will allow for the whole program to be ramped up through existing training and testing centres as well as accelerating the development of new channels," Denham said.
The ACS will continue to help promote the program and will contribute to course material development and examination content, she said.
Established locally in 1999, the ICDL standard has been completed by over 45,000 candidates and has been expanded to include more advanced programs. Cross said EXIN will immediately introduce new products and training partnerships to deliver ICDL and e-Citizen certifications through more education institutions.
"ICDL Advanced is a higher-level program designed for those who have successfully reached ICDL skills levels and wish to further enhance their computer proficiency.
"Meanwhile e-Citizen allows candidates to learn about the Internet without requiring prior computer knowledge which is increasingly an important literacy skill as more and more organisations and government departments are using the Internet to provide essential information and services," he said.
Cross said he would like to see every school and TAFE college student in Australia graduate with the ICDL minimum level of computer literacy.