EITCI Institute as a Member of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition (for more details refer to DSJC EU policy synopsis) pledged DSJC support in dissemination of the EITC / EITCA Certification standards within efforts in bridging of the gap in digital skills in Europe.
Upon the initiative EITCI Institute aims to issue 1 million digital certificates in EITCA Academy, IT ID eCV and EITCI Cloud by the end of 2020 (extended to end of 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic) among citizens of all 28 EU Member states, including digital entry-level DLC certificates for school youth and relevant EITC / EITCA certificates for students, educators, general work-force and IT professionals, thus supporting implementation of the goals set up in the European Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe upon Europe 2020 Strategy to reinforce growth of the digital and inclusive society by dissemination of high quality attested digital skills among EU citizens.
To achieve this goal EITCI Institute plans to further extend its current efforts of consolidation among acknowledged IT experts and educators in the EU being invited to cooperate with EITCI on helping closing the digital skills gap through involvement in agile EITC / EITCA certfication curriculum development and dissemination activities. According to the averaged Eurostat surveys of recent years, over 30% of EU citizens (i.e. over 150 millions of Europeans) do not have sufficient digital competencies, hampering their professional competitiveness. Additionally digital competencies held by the remaining part of EU citizens are in vast majority insufficiently advanced and increasingly often subject to obsolescence and impracticality due to growing pace of IT development and shortening life cycles of various IT standards. This constitutes a barrier to personal development and lowers overall competitiveness of the EU.
During over 10-years experience in development and dessimination of the EITC / EITCA certification standards in the EU and abroad since 2008, the European Information Technologies Certification Institute, as one of the international non-governmental organizations dedicated to digital qualifications attestement standard setting, came to realization that ever-increasing pace of technologies replacement cycles in IT, requires a change of approach in defining of digital competencies certification curriculums. EITCI Institute as an international non-profit organization seated in Brussels and working towards development and dissemination of high quality curriculums in digital competencies answering shortening technology life cycles, by changing the life cycle of the certificates curriculums themselves featuring increasing elasticity and use-cases orientation by joint efforts of recognized academic and industrial experts and acknowledged educators. EITCI Institute brings together experts in relevant, specific ICT fields, who cooperate in ad-hoc groups towards development and dissemination of high quality digital skills certification frameworks in professional and general IT applications. For more details please refer to https://eitca.org/how-it-works/
The EITCI pledged DSJC initiative is scaling on the expierences from the past EU ERDF cofunded projects. Sources of funding in the described initiative are being sought for in the EU ESF and EU ERDF funds. EITCI Institute has since 2008 participated in implementation of multiple EU publicly cofunded projects targeted at different social groups for IT competencies and IT certifications dissemination (over 1 million of individuals were reached in social campaigns in acquaintance with EITCI Institute's digitial skills assessment in non-commercial projects). Since the initiative is planned with a pan-European reach in all 28 EU member states, activities in some of the member states will not be publicly funded. In other member states only certain parts of the pledge may obtain public funding if achieved in relevant tenders or calls. Generally all non-commercial digital competencies certifications dissemination (free for all disabled persons since the establishment of the standards, or significantly cost-reduced upon EITCI own subsiding programme, e.g. for individuals who resigned on certification after inquiring, due to the economic reasons) will be provided by EITCI Institute within its own operational capacity (relevant subsidies promoting digital skills certification and lowering economic barriers in access will be granted in fee reductions or waiving by EITCI Institute within its operational capacities). The commercial and non-publicly funded dissemination of certification services will remain not-for-profit according to the articles of association of the EITCI Institute, enabling increase of scale of EITCI operations internationally to realize its mission in pursuing digital and inclusive society empowered by digital skills and competencies.
Over 1 million of EU citizens will increase their professional competitiveness by acquiring and attesting their new IT competencies upon EITC / EITCA Certification, IT ID eCV and DLC Certification and the EITCI Cloud digital attestments. This will include many groups of society, such as IT professionals, general work-force in different fields outside of IT, youth and teachers, as well as IT underrepresented social groups.
The EITCA Academy Programme comprises both the EITC and EITCA certifications. It is available as an official framework for individuals' IT competencies formal attestation, acknowledged internationally and thus providing individuals with their professional IT skills recognition, regardless of nationality upon the formal documents and their electronic form issued and verifiable by the EITCI Institute in Brussels. Both EITC / EITCA frameworks learning and examination methodologies for the certification incorporate technology assisted remote form, diminishing physical access barriers and reducing costs. Simultanously the services are not depersonalized and incorporate human-to-human interaction with individual consultancies forming blended learning methodology and individual couching in digital skills development. The EITCI Institute Cloud is one of the tools helping certified individuals to develop their professional social networks and continue on their path of excellence in IT. Also the EITCI Institute as an ASBL professional association is open for a membership of all individuals professionally related to IT, including EITC / EITCA certificate holders, who are interested in engagement in EITCI Institute's mission and operations.
Internationally recognized EITC / EITCA competencies certification quality is designed to provide a complementary educational offering for the EU citizens (public educational sector students, teachers, general work-force, IT experts, businessmen, public officers and other society groups). Since all certifications with relevant supplements are issued in Brussels, they prove valuable and acknowledged formal confirmation of individually possessed IT competencies and skills, enhancing professional profile of a Certificate holder and proving his or her international awareness (while still being accessible with little effort by means of distant learning and distant examination via Internet). Having an international certification in an adequate domain of applied Information Technologies enhances individuals competitiveness on jobs markets (international certificate holder stands out from other candidates), and provides formal documentation to facilitate finding better jobs posistions, as well as increasing jobs mobility in the EU.
According to ongoing EITC / EITCA Certificates holders' surveying, 64% already hold higher education diploma. This means that more effort will be needed in dessimination of the certification frameworks among individuals without higher education (citizens with tertiary education make a minority of only appr. 4% of the whole EU population). It is important to indicate that over 50% of holders of the EITC / EITCA Certifications claim that the certificate itself was a major motivation in choosing to learn new IT skills (as improving jobs markets position) and 86% claim that obtaining the relevant IT certificate significantly increased possesed skillsets, while 91% claim that it has significantly helped them on finding a better job or strengthening posision in the current workplace. Also over 90% of surveyed holders would advise others to undertake assessment and obtain EITC / EITCA Certificates in relevant fields of interests.
Simulatanously over 30% of EU citizens lack sufficient IT competencies and remaing part's IT competencies are either insufficiently advanced or obsolescent and impractical due to fast IT standards replacement pace. This limits both professional and personal development and lowers the overall competitiveness of the EU. To counter the above issues EITCI Institute introduces a change in the traditional formal approach to defining competencies curriculums, to be more elastic and agile in answering practical use-cases and technological trends in IT. The EITC / EITCA Certification standards as accessible in a fully remote manner (including remote knowledge assements and examinations) enabling all interested individuals to attest their IT competencies with maximally diminished physical access barriers and costs. Integration of the EITC/EITCA Certifications with internationally leading professional and career platforms (e.g. LinkedIn) employs innovative online secure verification of Certifications (cf. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImjZx517IxI) and thus enables holders to significantly improve their professional competitiveness and mobility on the international EU jobs market or in own business activity.
The EITCI Institute's Certification curriculums are being prepared in cooperation with many academic and industrial IT experts in relevant areas to their specializations within non-formalized workgroups. EITCI Institute cooperates also with IT staff of high-profile companies and with acknowledged academics and educators upon a license based model. International IT experts already associated within the EITCI Institute as members or external contributors invited to cooperation due to their experience and competencies are joining their efforts in a possibly deformalised and swift approach to defining of IT competencies certification curriculums and authoring relevant didactic content, upon which competencies assessment and examination tests are developed and deployed employing most advanced and current state of the art educational methodologies and tools. On a basis of this new approach redefining agile certification curriculums (e.g. including Blockchain development, CMS management such as Wordpress, mobile applications development, social networks systems development, systems penetration testing, loopholes patching using novel techniques related to cyber security, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine deep learning, quantum information and cryptography, etc.) EITCI Institute continously pursues correspondence with the EQF reference standard and the more formalized official EU digital skills frameworks, such as DIGCOMP. Important part of the EITCI DSJC initiative and IT certifications mainstreaming in the EU is by launching of the EITC X Certification Programme.
Upon the pledged initiative, EITCI Institute will provide remote examinations and digital skills assessments leading to EITC / EITCA Certificates issuing to 1 000 000 EU citizens by the end of 2020 (extended to the end of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
- Milestone 1: EITCA Academy: A pilot launch of new curriculum e-learning and digital skills assessments with EITCA/IS, EITCA/KC, EITCA/BI and EITCA/CG Certificates (each amounting at 150-180 hours programme equivalent referenced to at the level 6 of the European Qualification Framework EQF) among 180 000 individuals who inquired for EITC/EITCA Certification since 2008 but had to resign due to economic conditionings - with 80% up to 95% of the Certification fees subsidized by EITCI in fee waiving. Expected completion date: 31st December 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak the projected completion date has been shifted to 31st December 2021.
- Milestone 2: EITCI DLC Certification and IT ID: A pilot launch of new Digital Literacy Curriculum among 150 000 youth in primary and secondary schools including the free IT ID standard for increasing motivation and better preparing for computer science and IT engineering related continued education and professional careers in the future. A complementary approach is planned with inclusion of the EITCA eLearning Didactics Certificates empowering at least 10 thousand of teachers with competencies in digital tools and methods employment to support school youth in pursuing their IT related future. Expected completion date: 31st December 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak the projected completion date has been shifted to 31st December 2021.
- Milestone 3: EITC / EITCA Certification: A follow-up with monitoring and complementing of current IT competencies curriculum elearning and digital skills assessments among 150 000 of EITC / EITCA Certificates holders who obtained their certificates prior to 2014 and whose certified competencies might be deemed obsolate in certain areas. Expected completion date: 30th June 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak the projected completion date has been shifted to 31st December 2021.
- Milestone 4: EITC / EITCA Certification: A special focus on reaching parity among women accessing EITC / EITCA Certifications, with dedicated fully to high-intensity cofinanced IT training and competencies assesment and attestation among 200 000 women (women participation in the mostly men-dominated EITCA Information Security Academy over a course of 10 years rose from 5% to above impressing 30% currently; the goal is to approach 50% in all IT domains, including those stereotypically perceived as less feminine). Expected completion date: 31st December 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak the projected completion date has been shifted to 31st December 2021.
- Milestone 5: EITC / EITCA Certification: A non-commercial (fully open and free of charge) and not-for-profit continuation of the EITC / EITCA Certification free access for disabled persons to support empowering people living with disabilities in at least partial overcoming of the physical barriers (estimated number of supported individuals with various disablities within the planned activity time frame is 20 000 across all 28 EU member states). Expected completion date: 31st December 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak the projected completion date has been shifted to 31st December 2021.
- Milestone 6: EITC / EITCA Certification: A commercial offering of EITC / EITCA Certification resulting in digital skills assessments and issuing at least 150 000 of Certificates among interested individuals in the EU among general work-force in various sector-specific jobs, IT professionals, educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, public officers, etc. Expected completion date: 31st December 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak the projected completion date has been shifted to 31st December 2021.
Topics of EITC / EITCA Certification include: Key Competencies, Business IT, Cyber Security, Computer Graphics, Programming, Software Engineering, Mobile Applications, Web Desing, Internet Marketing, eLearning Didactics, eGovernment, Telework, Blockchain, Quantum Information, Quantum Cryptography