The European Computer Driving License (ECDL) is a certification for qualified computer operators in the same way that a regular driving license is a certification for qualified vehicle operators - although it differs in that one may lawfully operate a computer without a computer driving license.
The ECDL Foundation, which was set up by the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS), developed the certification program as a way of to promote information technology skills among the general population and skill standardization within the IT industry. The ECDL Foundation developed from an earlier CEPIS group, the User Skills Task Force, and was established in Dublin in January 1997 as a non-profit organization.
The ECDLF syllabus claims: "A European Computer Driving Licence always certifies the same standard of competence, irrespective of a person's nationality, residence, education, age or sex." The original ECDLF members agreed on the standards to be met by license holders when the project began; subsequently the foundation issued a revised "Standards and Guidelines" report in March of 1998.
To obtain ECDL certification, an individual must pass a test about basic IT knowledge as well as six practice-based tests of competence using a computer and popular computer application s. Employers frequently require employees - or potential employees - to attain ECDL certification.
ECDLF has branches in most European countries; it also has a number of members internationally through its International Computer Driving License (ICDL) Foundation.