ICDL Americas is a subsidiary of ICDL Foundation, the not-for-profit certifying authority of ICDL. Established to guide the implementation of the ICDL standards in the Americas context, ICDL Americas manages the accreditation of a growing network of ICDL Accredited Test Centres (ATCs), and provides a focal point for the formation of partnerships with organisations who share our national economic development and capacity building goals. 

ICDL Americas recognises the importance of digital literacy and ICT skills, and the urgent need for a more coordinated and effective action in driving economic development across the Americas. 

ICDL certification programmes have been delivered to over 14 million people, in 40 languages, in more than 100 countries, through a network of over 20.000 test centres.

Our Mission

To enable proficient use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that empowers individuals, organisations and society, through the development, promotion, and delivery of quality certification programs throughout the Americas.

Our Values

  • Vendor Neutrality: Our programmes equip candidates with the digital skills they need for any software environment they may use.  
  • Quality: We ensure that our programmes are implemented to the same standard all around the world. We also strive for continuous improvements and reviews of our programmes.  
  • Social Responsibility: We are committed to spreading digital literacy and improving digital skill proficiency throughout the Americas. Our programmes are designed to be accessible to all citizens, irrespective of age, gender, status or ability.

Quality standards

ICDL Foundation’s certification programmes are designed, validated, and approved by academics and industry experts from around the world. We continually develop our range of certification programmes, in line with market needs and technological advancements.

Worldwide quality assurance of ICDL Foundation certification programmes

ICDL Foundation defines Quality Assurance Standards, which all National Operators must adhere to in the implementation and promotion of our certification programmes. We regularly visit and audit the National Operators of our programmes, and all Accredited Test Centres within a country are regularly audited by the National Operator. These audits ensure that programme delivery around the world is consistent with our Quality Assurance Standards and that the international reputation for the quality of our programmes is upheld.

Quality policy

ICDL Foundation is committed to the development, promotion, and delivery of quality certification programmes so as to enable proficient use of ICT that empowers individuals, organisations and society throughout the world.

To meet the needs of all our customers, ICDL Foundation has established a Quality Management System based on the internationally recognised quality standard ISO 9001:2015.

Adherence to this standard ensures that the processes used by ICDL Foundation to develop and support its certification programmes, are effective, efficient, and subject to continuous evaluation and improvement.

The History of ICDL and ECDL

1995 – CEPIS task force creates ECDL Concept

In 1995, the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS) created a task force, supported by the European Commission through the ESPRIT research programme, to examine how to raise the levels of digital literacy throughout Europe. The new certification programme was launched as the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) in Sweden in August 1996.

1997 – ECDL Foundation Established

ECDL quickly gained European-wide acceptance and a clear need was identified for the project to establish a central coordinating body to ensure a consistently high standard of implementation in all European countries. On the 8th January 1997, the ECDL Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, limited by guarantee with no share capital, was formally established in Dublin, Ireland.

1999 – ICDL Introduced

As ECDL gained prominence in Europe, the number of candidates exceeded 1 million and continued to rise; this success attracted the attention of countries outside of Europe who began to take a strong interest in the concept.  ECDL was subsequently introduced outside of Europe, where the certification became known as ICDL (International Computer Driving Licence).

Computer societies and international organisations in Africa and South America began promoting ICDL, and a milestone was reached in 1999 when UNESCO, through its Cairo office, signed an agreement with ECDL Foundation to become the national operator for several Arab States. Shortly afterwards, ICDL was launched in the North America and Asia.

2003 – ECDL / ICDL Advanced Introduced

ECDL Foundation expanded its programme range in 2003, with the launch of ECDL / ICDL Advanced. This high-level certification programme was designed for those who have successfully reached ECDL / ICDL skill levels and wished to further enhance their computer proficiency.

Subsequently, additional programmes were launched. Some focused on entry-level skills, while others were more specialised such as web editing.

2007 – ECDL / ICDL Syllabus 5 Launched

Since its beginning, the ECDL / ICDL syllabus has continually evolved to reflect changes in technology.

In 2007, the ECDL Foundation conducted a substantial review of ECDL / ICDL Syllabus 4.0, to reflect ongoing advances in technologies. As a result, ECDL / ICDL Syllabus 5.0 was launched that year. 

2009 – Over 9 million candidates in 148 countries

In February of 2009, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, became the 9 millionth ECDL candidate. At the ceremony, the success of the ECDL programme was highlighted, as well as the necessity of keeping investment in digital skills high on the public policy agendas of all EU Member States. 

2012 – 12 million candidates in over 148 countries

By 2012, 12 million people had taken the ECDL / ICDL. The ECDL Foundation has an international network of 24,000 Test Centres in 148 countries.  

2015 – 14 million candidates in over 150 countries


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