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UNESCO actively contributed to the shaping of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals—adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015; it gives pride of place to the fundamental contribution of quality, inclusive education at all levels and to the importance of lifelong learning opportunities for all (SDG 4).

In actual fact, paragraph 4.4 states that:

"Culture enhances access to education and ensures more locally relevant curricula, textbooks and teaching methods. Quality education should nurture the appreciation of cultural diversity and provide youth with the knowledge and skills for decent jobs and entrepreneurship in creative industry sectors".

Under these premises, the information paper A Global Framework of Reference on Digital Literacy Skills for Indicator 4.4.2 conducted a systematic search in 47 countries in order to provide meaningful guidelines for the provision of training, monitoring and assessment of digital literacy associated with employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship in disparate contextual settings.


We place much stress on the findings included in the UNESCO paper:

As the objective of Digital Literacy Global Framework (DLGF) project is to develop a methodology that can serve as the foundation for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), researchers have built on the European Commission’s Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp 2.0), developed at the European Commission – Join Research Centre in Seville, as the initial framework for the study.

UNESCO researchers have found a total of three different enterprise frameworks adopted by the 43 countries that use them, in decreasing order of popularity: the International Computer Drivers Licence (ICDL)—adopted in 31 countries, the Certiport Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC)—adopted in 13 countries, and the Microsoft Digital Literacy Standard Curriculum—adopted in 11 countries. ICDL is the digital literacy framework which scores the best in the extended DigComp table of competences (with a total score of 177 against Microsoft with 67, as reported in the table at page 12).

A part from some national frameworks often adopted by national entities, the UNESCO study shows that only the three aforementioned commercial frameworks, ICDL, IC and Microsoft have a major role in influencing the digital literacy competences that are being taught and assessed. It has to be mentioned that the ICDL frameworks examined by UNESCO is known in Europe as ECDL. As this UNESCO research states, ICDL is the most complete and widespread digital literacy framework in the world.