in Guyana, the most popular computer training program offered by the two leading computer schools, Computer World and Global Technology, is the Foundation Package, also called the Foundation Diploma in Computer Studies. This program was preceded in popularity by the Diploma in Microcomputer Studies which was launched around 1987 by Computer World. However, it was Global Technology that launched and popularized the Foundation Package concept which limited the training program to include only Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, Excel and Internet operations, to the exclusion of Microsoft PowerPoint and Access which were included in the Diploma in Microcomputer Studies.

The Diploma in Microcomputer Studies, though still offered, is now an advanced level program following the introduction of the Foundation Diploma in Computer Studies by Computer World. This diploma now has four certificate courses – Windows and Internet Operations, Word, Excel and Publisher, leaving PowerPoint and Access to the advanced Microcomputer Studies diploma.

So what is the case for having a foundation package? The first is customer perception. The name suggests it is the right course for beginners, foundation, and is a complete program in itself, package. The second is affordability. The Computer World Foundation Diploma Package costs $38,000 while the Global Technology package costs $49,000 which is equivalent to about $200 and $250 US dollars respectively. The third reason is the job market reality. Most employers equate computer literacy with knowledge of Microsoft Windows, Word and Excel, so a foundation package that includes these courses meets the computer skills requirements of most office jobs.

There are two important differences between the way the Computer World Foundation Package is marketed and the way the Global Technology package is promoted. The first difference is that the Computer World Foundation Package is a diploma program while Global’s is a certificate program with no diploma awarded for completion of the four certificate courses. The second difference is that Computer World does not require completion of the Foundation Package for entry to more advanced programs like computerized accounting, computer graphics and computer repairs. At Global, the Foundation Package is a requirement.

It is fair to say that Guyana is unique in having a Foundation Package as the standard program for beginners’ level computer training since in other countries Windows, Word and Excel are combined under the Microsoft Office banner and not a Foundation Package or Foundation Diploma qualification.