Any IT professional will agree that digital literacy is a crucial element of staying updated and saving time on numerous daily tasks. It’s all the more important for a developing country as diverse and populous as India. After all, one can only be able to do extensive research, analyze problems and come up with innovative solutions if one can connect to the world via digital technology and computers.
The huge gap between demand and supply for IT-literate citizens in India can be bridged only by using digital services across various sectors, such as education, finance and healthcare. For us to be considered a developed nation in the future, digital literacy must form an integral part of that transition. A majority of India’s population needs to be able to search for information online, use this information for their own benefit and carry out basic computer tasks with ease.
Hence, the importance of digital literacy certifications that impart knowledge about basic computing skills. How can such credentials help with current challenges, and what role do they have in an increasingly computerized future?
Digital Literacy in India: the Way Forward
The number of mobile users is increasing exponentially in India. This may, however, be contributing to a false sense that many Indians are actually beginning to learn to use the internet. Present estimates place the total number of Indians who are digitally illiterate between 85 and 90 percent of the overall population.
The government of India has taken this issue seriously, as they realize that the way forward is through extensive use of digital technologies. Hence, the unfolding “Digital India” campaign devised under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A vital component of this movement is the National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) scheme that aims to make one person in every Indian family digitally literate by 2020. It’s a huge challenge, especially when you consider that rural households alone add up to more than 147 million. And when basic language literacy is still a major issue in Indian rural areas, digital literacy indeed seems to be a long shot!
Digital Literacy Courses and Certification Programs
In spite of the challenges one thing is for certain: India has a great need for a citizenry that is digitally literate. Fortunately, there are a number of digital certifications in India designed to help people become versed in basic computer skills and in the use of digital technology.
Let’s take a look at some of these digital literacy certifications and courses.
IC3 Digital Literacy Certification (offered by Certiport, a Pearson VUE business)
IC3 certification is globally recognized as a digital literacy standard. It prepares individuals for different work environments where a sound foundational knowledge of computers and the internet are important.
This certification instructs students in how the efficient use of digital technologies helps businesses grow. Whether you are looking for a career opportunity, improved company profits, or some additional credibility to boost your resume, IC3 is definitely worth it.
To become IC3-certified, you need to clear exams in three domains:
- Computing Fundamentals
- Key Applications
- Living Online
These domains pretty much encompass all the necessary subject matter to adequately use digital technology.
Students can study with Certiport materials and have access to practice exams, mapped to the latest IC3 standards and available in 14 languages. One handy facet of the practice exams is that students can take them in two different modes:
Practice Mode — This offers similar questions to the various exams and provides a report at the end of the exam showing areas of strength and weakness.
Learning Mode — Students receive assistance as they need it on the practice exam via “Flash tutorials” to help them with difficult questions.
One convenient aspect of a Certiport credential is instant access to the Certiport Authenticated Digital Transcript, which allows you to share your verified certification status with any employer, staffing agency or school.
CompTIA IT Fundamentals Certification
This certification replaces the CompTIA Strata IT Fundamentals Certification, which was retired in August of this year. The IT Fundamentals certification exam tests candidate skills related to PC hardware basics, software installation and associated functions, compatibility issues and common errors, security risks (as well as prevention), computer maintenance and numerous related technology topics. The test also evaluates knowledge and awareness of green IT.
Absolutely no prior experience is required to pursue this certification. Earning this introductory program will prove useful to first-time users as they enter the IT world. Some examples of IT job positions for which candidates are qualified after successfully completing this certification are:
- Customer support (entry level)
- Sales engineer
- Marketing professional
- Product specialist
- Sales associate
- Account manager
- Business development manager
CompTIA is the well-respected “voice of the information technology industry.” To date, the organization has issued more than 2 million IT certifications. The CompTIA’s Fundamentals Certification is a great point of entry into IT.
ECDL (from British Computer Society)
The ECDL is offered by ECDL Foundation, a leading international computer skills certification authority. If you are looking for a digital literacy benchmark that is recognized by educational institutes globally, then you need not look further than ECDL.
This course aims to make you fully confident in the effective use of computers and enhances your existing digital knowledge. The course design aims to cover several key computing concepts, their practical applications and routine use in your workplace or society.
ECDL offers a comprehensive suite of IT user qualifications, with something for everyone. The different versions are:
- ECDL for schools
- ECDL for learners
- ECDL for training providers
Employers are always on the lookout for productive employees who can add more value to their business and help achieve their goals in a highly efficient manner. ECDL certification prepares you in such a way that your skill set and knowledge fits the requirements for several employers.
Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA) or National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) Scheme
As mentioned above, the major goal of this program is to assist the Indian government’s Digital India movement. This scheme is very inexpensive. Individuals undergo training in IT under two separate phases:
- Appreciation of Digital Literacy (Level 1 for only ₹ 125)
This phase prepares candidates to make use of digital services, such as smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
- Basics of Digital Literacy (Level 2 for only ₹ 250)
This phase is a more advanced course that trains citizens to effectively use e-governance services offered by the government. The goal is to enable the government to slowly get rid of physical document maintenance, a significant cost.
At the end of this program candidates will undergo an external evaluation by various national level certifying agencies, such as IGNOU, NIELIT and NIOS.
Clearly the world has changed. Computer literacy is increasingly essential for employment and daily interactions between individuals and organizations. This challenge is no more acute than in India. We simply must become a people literate in information technology. The means are already available and it’s just a matter of making citizens aware of them. As citizens become aware of courses and certifications more will opt to develop their IT skills and simultaneously help India take a huge step towards digital literacy.
If you have any questions on India’s efforts to increase IT literacy, feel free to drop us a note below and, thanks for reading!