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European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)

What is ECDL?

ECDL: European Computer Driving Licence

ECDL is an internationally-recognized standard of competence, a widely acceptable certificate that asserts that the holder has the knowledge and skills needed to use the most common computer applications efficiently and productively in the workplace and at home.

The ECDL concept originated in Finland in 1996 and today it is the world’s largest end-user computer skills certification programme, with more than 11 million Candidates in 148 countries, a standard and open syllabus and tests available in more than 41 languages.

ECDL meets all requirements of the EU e-Europe Action Plan. It is:

  • vendor independent
  • internationally recognized
  • implemented according to strict quality assurance standards
  • suitable for all skills levels
  • up-to-date, relevant, and meaningful - are in line with market needs and technological advancements
  • supported by a range of training options and materials


The aim of the ECDL

  • Raise the level of competency in IT and computer skills
  • Improve productivity at home and work
  • Provide a worldwide recognised qualification and a viable career path
  • Benefit employers in the precise definition of a job applicant's or employee's skills set

ECDL’s values

  • Social Responsibility: as a not-for-profit organisation, ECDL Foundation is committed to improving digital skills proficiency within society. The Foundation’s certification programmes are designed to be accessible to all citizens, irrespective of age, gender, status, ability or race.
  • Vendor Independence: The Foundation’s certification programmes give candidates the flexibility and freedom to acquire digital skills and confidently apply them in any software environment that they may be required to use.
  • Quality: ECDL Foundation strive for continuous improvements in all that it does and ensure that its programmes are implemented to consistent standards internationally.

The ECDL is

  • simple (it has a specific set of requirements and its modular system offers many advantages)
  • reliable (it guarantees all the necessary PC skills and knowledge)
  • quality-oriented (examination system funded by the European Union and supervised by the international ECDL Foundation)
  • independent (it gives the Candidates the flexibility and freedom to acquire digital skills and confidently apply them in any software environment that they may be required to use)

Target groups

The ECDL is an advantage for both employees, employers, unemployed and school leavers.

Benefits of ECDL for employees can be summarized as follows:

  • internationally recognized ECDL Certificate
  • flexible modular system
  • simple and practical requirements
  • formal certificate proving that the Candidate has vital IT skills
  • improvment of your speed and efficiency at home and at work
  • better employment opportunities
  • improved job prospects in the domestic and foreign labour markets
  • establish a solid range of basic computer skills on which to increase your computer literacy.

Benefits of ECDL for new labour market entrants:

  • the broad, well-founded knowledge prepares for the expected demands of the labour-market
  • the gained knowledge can be applied in any hardware and  software environment of the pro-spective employer
  • its modular system enables the students the parallel acquisition of a separate profession
  • it creates opportunities in the labor market meeting the information society's expectations

Benefits of ECDL for employers:

  • establish a computer competency standard for current and new employees
  • improve employee productivity and increase returns from investments in IT
  • increased job efficacy and reduced IT
  • increased motivation of the employees to use modern technologies,
  • create a starting point for permanent refresh of knowledge and skills in the field of IT
  • increased competitiveness of the company at the trade
  • a new employee does not require any special training as the digital skills acquired can be confidently applied in any software environment. The employer saves time and money

Recognition of ECDL

ECDL in Hungary

The ECDL is managed in Hungary by the John von Neumann Computer Society (NJSZT). The Society became a member of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) Foundation in 1997.  The Managing Director of the Society is member of the Quality Assurance Commitee of the International ECDL Fondation.

The John von Neumann Computer Science Society plays a significant role in supporting the development of the Information Society in Hungary through its activities for the education of citizens in IT skills, playing a leading role the nation-wide dissemination of digital literacy. NJSZT is member of the ECDL Foundation and coordinates the ECDL dissemination activity all over Hungary.

Starting from the academic year of 2006/2007 more and more higher education and other institutions have recognized the European Computer Driving License (ECDL) as a real exam. An increasing number of high schools have been encouraging students to acquire this document proving the existence of basic computer skills. ECDL’s coordinating body in Hungary, the John von Neumann Computer Science Society indicated that the new modular system of the National Register of Qualifications (OKJ) already takes into account the ECDL modules, including also the separate, optional modules (eg. ImageMaker, Webstarter, CAD, Advanced Word Processing, Spreadsheets or Database - Filing Systems).

Following a government decree (April 1999) highlighting the role of ECDL in the civil service training program, in 2002 by decision of the Hungarian College of Public Administration ECDL became again part of the civil service trainig program.

The ECDL is part of the national teacher training program, and the training program for cultural professionals as well.

Until April of 2014 the number of registrated candidates in Hungary exceeded 430.000 and 290.000 had already obtained an ECDL diploma. 

ECDL around the world

The ECDL certification programmes have been delivered to over 13 million people, across 150 countries. These programmes are designed to be accessible to all citizens, irrespective of age, gender, status, ability, or race.

The ECDL Foundation

The ECDL (European Compter Driving Licence) concept is owned and managed by the European Compter Driving Licence Foundation.

The ECDL Foundation is the global governing body of the world's leading end-user computer skills certification programme, the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), which is known as the In-ternational Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) outside Europe.

Headquartered in Dublin, the European Compter Driving Licence Foundation, was established in January 1997 by CEPIS - Council of European Professional Informatics Societies - as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee to support and co-ordinate the work of the ECDL Organizations in each member country. The ECDL Foundation is dedicated to helping to raise the general level of computer skills in society and providing access for all to the Information Society.

The ECDL Foundation works to promote a pan-European and an international certificate of industry-standard computing skills.

How to obtain an ECDL certificate?

ECDL candidates in Hungary can register with any authorised ECDL Test Centre within the country. Following, candidates must purchase a skills card available at any Test Centre.  The modules can be taken all at once, or individually, in any order and in any ECDL member country. ECDL candidates have up to three years to complete all seven of the modules.

Skills Cards

When a candidate registers to start the ECDL certification program he/she receives a Skills Card on which the chosen Test Centre records the candidate's progress through the seven Test Modules. Once all the exams have been successfully completed and the skills card is complete, the approved Test Centre returns the Skills Card to the ECDL Office of the John von Neumann Computer Society (NJSZT) who will then issue the certificate to the candidate.  For the facultative moduls (Image Editing, Web Editing, CAD) Skills Card is not available. In these cases after the modules have been successfully completed certification is issued by the Test Centre.

ECDL Exams

ECDL candidates in Hungary can register with any authorised ECDL Test Centre within the country. A candidate has 45 minutes and 60 for Advanced modules to complete each ECDL exam. The ECDL certification is not vendor-specific, so candidates are not tied solely to using Microsoft Office products.  The modules can be taken all at once, or individually, and in any order. If an ECDL exam is failed, a candidate may not re-sit the exam the same day.

History of 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, ECDL Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, limited by guarantee with no share capital, was formally established in Dublin, Ireland.

June 1997 – Hungary (as 13th member) joined the ECDL Foundation

1998 – First exams organized in Hungary

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 American and Asian markets.
Hungarian government codified the duty for selected professions of state service employees to get an ECDL Certificate.

2000  – Introduction of ECDL Start

2001 – First ECDL exams for candidates with visual and/or hearing disability in Hungary

Recommendation of the High Level Group on Employment and Social Dimension of the Information Society (ESDIUS) concerning the implementation of the e-Europe Action Line:
"Establish a European diploma for basic information technology skills, with decentralised certification procedures" makes a direct  recommendation to the EU Commission for the acceptance of the ECDL

2002 – Reccomendation of the EU’s High Level Task Force for Skills and Mobility

The High Level Group ESDIS adopted a recommendation on 5 October 2001: "that the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) be accepted as a Europe-wide basic IT accreditation scheme". Moreover, the future direction of a European basic IT skills diploma should be further elaborated under the eLearning action plan.

2003 – ECDL Advanced Introduced
ECDL Foundation expanded its programme range in 2003, with the launch of ECDL Advanced, a high-level certification programme designed for those who have successfully reached ECDL skills levels and wish to further enhance their computer proficiency.

The number of candidates in Hungary exceeded 100.000

Launch of the programme „Esélyt a jövőnek” („Give future a chance”) supported by the Hungarian Ministry of Education. The programme fully covers the examination fee from the state budget for all final-term secondary school students who successfully pass their ECDL computer-user examination. In three years the program involved thousands of high-school students.

2004 – According to an agreement signed in December 2004 by the Hungarian Ministry of Education and the John von Neumann Computer Society (NJSZT)  high-school students who pass the final exam in IT with a grade A, obtain the ECDL certificate on a reduced price without the obligation to pass other ECDL tests. The requirements of the high-schools’ final exams in IT cover the necessary skills and knowledge for the ECDL certificate.

2005  – The number of candidates in Hungary exceeded 200.000

Additional modul ImageMaker was launched in Hungary.

April 2007 – ECDL Select programme has been launched - Hungarian initiative

2007 – ECDL Syllabus 5 Launched
Since its initial conception, the ECDL syllabus has continually evolved to reflect changes in technology and its use.  In 2007, ECDL Foundation conducted a substantial review of ECDL Syllabus 4.0 in order to ensure that it reflected ongoing advances in technologies and relevant practices. This resulted in the completion of ECDL Syllabus 5.0 which will be phased in by national operators during 2009.

2007 – The professional requirements of the National Register of Qualifications (OKJ) trainings contain the requirements of the ECDL modules

2008 – ECDL is 10 years old in Hungary.
The number of candidates in Hungary exceeded 300.000 and the number of Test Centres are more than 400. Aim: in the next 3 years other 300.000 candidates

2009 – ECDL is part of the National Upgrading Program for teachers (with ECDL Certificate teachers can get the necessary credit points)

April 2011 – New ECDL homepage
The number of candidates in Hungary exceeded 400.000

2013 – ECDL as an accredited training and test for public servants

October 2013 – Launch of new ECDL

ECDL SELECT module system 

ECDL START module system





For English language testing please contact ECDL Hungary: