News story

British Computer Society assists the IT illiterate

Learning NewsBritish Computer Society

Nearly a third of the UK's population are being left behind in our increasingly information driven society, thwarted by a genuine fear of attempting to use a computer. That is why the British Computer Society (BCS) has introduced a new skills programme designed specifically for such technophobes and which promises to speedily enable a major part of society with the rudiments of IT communication skills.

The new BCS EqualSkills course will shortly be available from a wide range of adult education institutes and local training providers. It promises a fun, informal and uncomplicated introduction to computers, and is designed to show the use and role of technology in the everyday lives of all society, regardless of status, education, age, ability or understanding.

EqualSkills is a short, staged training and assessment programme with a certificate awarded upon successful completion to acknowledge achievement. The programme will be fun, informal and easy-to-use and will show newcomers to IT the very basics of computing from learning how to switch on a computer, use a mouse to exploring the internet for the latest weather updates and holiday bargains.

Specifically designed to address the needs of those intimidated by computers, EqualSkills is the first step on the IT skills ladder, with candidates then encouraged to move on to the internationally recognised European Computer Driving Licence® (ECDL) IT qualification, also managed by the BCS in the UK.

EqualSkills will cover four topics: Computer Basics; Introduction to the Desktop; World Wide Web and Email, and will be taught by a tutor at participating centres with candidates progressing at their own pace through an EqualSkills workbook.

In line with the BCS's aims to promote the relevance and importance of Information Technology, EqualSkills will ensure IT is accessible to everybody in society and highlight the simple benefits computers and the internet can offer.

ECDL UK director Pete Bayley welcomes the new programme: "A great misconception exists that most people are at least familiar with the rudiments of computing and are familiar with popular terms such as 'email' and the 'web'. But although IT literacy on the whole has increased dramatically in recent years, thanks to the BCS's success in promoting the importance of IT skills through its ECDL certification products, a serious gap has opened up between the computer literate and illiterate. EqualSkills will, I believe, go a long way to help bridge this gap and enable computer novices to become fully involved in the information age."


Editor's Notes:

About EqualSkills

As a programme aimed at complete beginners, EqualSkills has been designed to be non-threatening in its format and structure. There is no formal exam at the end of the programme and assessment is done by the programme tutor on an on-going project basis.

The programme will take between 8 and 15 hours, depending on the aptitude of the candidate. The programme is designed to be fully flexible and allows candidates to learn at their own pace.

Candidates work through a paper-based Workbook that consists of simple and straightforward exercises and learning information. The Workbook is a study aid and assessment document which helps the candidate and the tutor check their understanding of the topics. In conjunction with the Workbook exercises, candidates also carry out a number of online exercises.

About ECDL
ECDL is the internationally recognised computer skills qualification that provides a tangible measure and certification of a computer user's competency. ECDL aims to raise the level of national computer literacy; improve productivity at work; reduce IT support costs and to ensure that best practice and quality issues are understood and implemented. The British Computer Society (BCS) manages and promotes the ECDL in the UK on behalf of the ECDL Foundation.

About the British Computer Society
The British Computer Society is the leading professional body for the IT industry. With members in over 100 countries around the world, the BCS is the professional and learned Society in the field of computers and information systems.

The BCS is responsible for setting standards for the IT profession. It is also leading the change in public perception and appreciation of the economic and social importance of professionally managed IT projects and programmes. In this capacity, the Society advises, informs and persuades industry and government on successful IT implementation.