The Linux Professional Institute hopes to recruit more Linux trainers and students through two initiatives launched at the Cebit trade show in Germany yesterday.

"Linux Essentials" is an educational programme for new Linux users, intended to lead to a certificate of achievement that can be delivered by schools and training centres.

With the certificate, students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the open source software ecosystem, the institute said. The syllabus covers practical matters such as Linux command line basics and file security, as well as more philosophical areas such as the Linux community and an understanding of licensing.

It will cost around €65 (£54) to take the exam at a private test centre, or €50 (£42) through a school. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, students can sit the exam from June; elsewhere, they will need to wait until next year, the institute said.

The institute needs to recruit not only students, but also trainers, to further its goal of encouraging more people to follow careers in Linux and open source technologies, and trainers are the target of the other initiative announced yesterday.

The institute is working with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to train trainers in the 22 countries of the League of Arab States. The ITU has budgeted almost $6 million to set up 132 training centres, with the goal of training around 13,200 new Linux trainers over the next three years.

The project will focus on the three existing levels of certification offered by the institute, covering basic maintenance skills such as backing up and restoring files; designing and maintaining a small mixed network, and enterprise-level skills including virtualisation, security, mail and messaging.