A new set of recommendations on an ideal, feasible European Digital Skills Certificate (EDSC), has been created by the CEPIS Digital Skills Policy Expert Group. The recommendations include a call for the certification system to be aligned with, and mapped to, the EU’s Digital Competence Framework, DigComp. They also recommend that the EDSC should offer a modular structure of tests that allows individual users to choose which aspects of their digital competence to certify.
The EDSC is a project of the European Commission, currently in pilot testing. It is intended to help people have their digital skills more easily recognised by employers and training providers.
According to the CEPIS Digital Skills Policy Expert Group, the ideal EDSC should verify knowledge, skills, and attitudes in real situations and contexts. The tests should require performing practical tasks, as well as answering multiple choice questions, and should avoid using simulations, instead requiring the candidate to use real tools in realistic context. Any tests passed should result in digital evidence or a document of certification, which would list essential information (skills certified, date, version of the programmes used, version of DigComp to which the tests are mapped, etc.) in a way that would be easily verifiable by any interested parties, such as employers.
In the recommendations, the group also emphasises that any such certification should be as bias-free and inclusive as possible. For example, the systems should rely on automatic tests that do not require human intervention for evaluation of results, thus avoiding any possible bias from the evaluator. The systems should also comply with EU regulations regarding accessibility to avoid excluding people with disabilities, and be offered remotely as well as in physical locations, to include people in rural areas, and those who do not have their own equipment.
Finally, it must be noted that the type of very advanced activities related to proficiency levels 7 and 8 in some of the competences of DigComp closely resemble some of the lowest level activities that some ICT professionals have to do during their daily activities. Thus, the DSP group deems that it important to highlight that the fact that a user is capable of doing some of those low-level activities also developed by professionals adequately does not represent evidence of being qualified as an ICT professional.
The full recommendations can be downloaded from the CEPIS website.