By Maddy Reddy
International Computer Driving Licence continues to gain approval from Middle East governments as usage soars.
|~|icdlinside.jpg|~|ICDL has a major role to play in the development of the Middle East region, says Mitch MacLaren.|~|The Government of Oman has become the latest Middle East government to endorse the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) programme, a globally-recognised IT training scheme designed to equip students with computer skills.
The Sultanate’s Ministry of National Economy is leading the way and it is currently working with other Ministries in Oman to implement the programme. For instance, the Ministry will recommend the implementation of the ICDL programme for the entire Omani government workforce, and work with the Ministry of Education to ensure all teachers are ICDL certified and all secondary level students complete the programme.
The recognition of the ICDL by Oman’s government is further evidence that the programme is being well received in the region, as nationalisation schemes drive demand for IT savvy employees. The adoption of ICDL is now widespread throughout the Gulf. The UAE which had just ICDL 200 registrants in 2001, recently signed up 17,000 new recruits while more than 10,000 students have been trained under the programme in Saudi Arabia.
“With the Middle East poised to register phenomenal growth in IT, ICDL has a major role to play in the region,” says Mitch MacLaren, programme director of ICDL in the UAE.“As a widely accredited international computer proficiency certification, ICDL provides a practical, flexible and cost effective means of learning, testing and certifying the basic computer skills required in everyday professional and personal computer usage,” he adds.
Since its launch into the region three years ago, the governments of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Egypt and Jordan have all endorsed the ICDL programme, which is sponsored by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO). Within Egypt alone the programme is endorsed by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Higher Education, the Ministry of ICT and its eGovernment department. Elsewhere, the Jordanian Government has directed all federal employees to complete the programme by 2006, while individual ministries or departments in Kuwait, Oman, the UAE and Saudi have also recommended it to employees.
In Saudi Arabia, the General Organisation of Technical Education and Vocational Training (GOTEVOT) has adopted the ICDL as a requirement for all its students, as has King Khalid University and the King Fahad University for Petroleum & Minerals.
In the UAE, the Dubai eGovernment has implemented two ICDL programmes as part of its e4all initiative, whereby all qualifying government employees in Dubai will be invited to complete the Basic program. Dubai eGovernment has also launched the e-Citizen program developed by the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) Foundation, it is aimed at educating Dubai residents on how to use Dubai eGovernment e-Services. The Abu Dhabi Education Zone and the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority have chosen the ICDL programme for 7000 school teachers and 10,000 employees respectively.
Most recently, twenty nine UAE national women obtained their International computer Driving Licence (ICDL) certificates under a training programme organised by Compubase and Tanmia, the national human resources development and employment authority.
Elsewhere in the UAE, students in Sharjah and Ajman have also been making use of Compubase’s mobile EduBus, a wireless-network and soundproof classroom in a bus which is equipped with the latest technology to provide a go anywhere, mobile training centre, in order to pass the certification. The training programme is a part of Tanmia’s Maharat initiative, which aims to enhance the skills of registered students to better position them in the Middle East job market.
“To fuel the supply side of the UAE’s labour market by enhancing the skill level of UAE nationals, Tanmia training and career guidance programmes play a critical role,” says Ayesh Al-Barguthi, Tanmia’s skills development centre director. “Our partnership with CompuBase and the use of the EduBus, which reached trainees in Sharjah and Ajman, provided the basic and necessary skills required for young nationals to gain an edge in a very competitive, knowledge-based labour market and economy,” she adds. CompuBase is now gearing up to use the EduBus to reach other remote locations in the UAE as the thirst for ICDL certification continues to sweep the Middle East.
“Our extensive use of our EduBus will make IT training available to all those who seek better opportunities in the labour market, anywhere and at any time,” says Ayman Khaleel, CompuBase’s managing director. ||**||