An Evaluative Study on Course and Curriculum Structure of Library and Information Science in Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India.

AuthorKar, Sanjoy
  1. Introduction:

    Vidyasagar University was founded by the mathematician and statistician Prof. Anil Kumar Gaiyen (IIT, Kharagpur) in 1984 under the Vidyasagar University Act 1981 (West Bengal Act XVIII of 1981) (17) to commemorate the famous social reformer of the Bengali renaissance, Pandit Iswar Chandra Bandyopadhyay (19). The University campus covers an area of 138.74 acres in the lovely natural environment of historic Medinipur, which has witnessed many glorious episodes of freedom struggle and bears footprints of great revolutionaries. And now it becomes first smart university of the state that provided smart campus along with smart classroom. (23)

    The Department of Library and Information Science was one of the first six departments which started its functioning from 1985-86 academic sessions with one-year BLIS course (21) (with only one teacher and intake of 30 students) with Dr. Satyananda Mondal as head of the department and the MLIS course was started from session 1986-87 under the faculty of Arts and Commerce and Ph.D. Programme was introduced in 1989.

    During its 30 years of glorious history, the department has produced a good number of LIS professionals and contributed a lot to the development of the profession. Since 1986 nearly 1000 students have already got LIS degree and among them, 355 students got MLISc degree from the department and 33 students have been awarded with a Ph.D degree. Many LIS students of the university are working at responsible position in various university libraries, ISI libraries, IIT libraries, NIT libraries, college libraries, school libraries, public libraries, state libraries, R&D organizations, multinational corporate organization, national and international organizations, Professors of the university and so on in different capacities (21), not only in India but also outside the country.

  2. Statement of the Problem:

    Any study on courses and curriculum structure of LIS of Vidyasagar University has not yet been undertaken by any researcher. Over the time LIS education in the country as well as globally has taken a sea change. Therefore, in the typical changing situation the researchers have conducted a critical and in-depth study on LIS course and curricular structure, super-structure and infrastructure imparted by the university. The authors also investigate how far the course and curriculum cope up with the market demands and challenges with the dawn of ICT changes. The study will be beneficial for the professionals, policy makers, educators, practitioners, and future researchers in LIS.

  3. Literature review:

    Basu & Sarkhel (1995) (2) critically examined various recommendations of the UGC Curriculum Development Committee (CDC) in LIS (1993) in the context of experience of the Department of Library and Information Science at Vidyasagar University, and they offered few suggestions for implementation. Sarkhel, J.K. (2006) (11) gives an overview of the present status and problems of Library and Information Science education in India with an emphasis on the need for its internal quality assurance. Mishra, S. (1997) (9) discusses the importance of librarians as a medium of transmission in the communication process. The author outlines detailed syllabi for the Bachelor of Library Science and Master of Library Science degrees to prepare professionals for the 21st century. Khan H.A (1998) (8) examined the various factors in assessing the status of library and information science education, including planning programmes; nature of faculty; level and content of courses; standard of education; the impact of communication and information technology. Biswas and Mondai (2001) (3) examined the syllabi of 15 LIS schools on the title, course contents, and teaching methods used in respect of the research methodology paper in the master's degree programmes. They concluded that despite LIS educators' best efforts to enhance the theoretical and practical skills of students through 'inclusion of research methodology and dissertation papers in the syllabi, LIS research in India is yet to reach to its desired heights in terms of quality, if not quantity and suggests that further introspection into the pedagogies of research methodology in LIS curricula is essential. Michael Gorman (20) is a traditionalist who sees the current state of library education as a crisis. His views on the internet, digitization of books, Google and information science are passionately conservative. Gorman believes in the power of the book as a format, and in the skill of traditional literacy as opposed to "visual literacy". He sees library service as the most important part of a librarian's job and has proposed changes in the curriculum of library schools to emphasize this. Balakrishnan (1996) (1) said, technology has drastically changed the way librarians define themselves and the way they think about their profession and the institutions they serve. The librarian in the digital world now acts as a guardian of information, as a consultant to the users, an information broker and also a continuous learner. Varalakshmi, (2007) (16) said, it is the responsibility of LIS departments to develop the right personnel with basic competence to manage the libraries and information centers of varied scope and nature, ranging from the small rural library to a well-established digital library. Pawarand Kaur (10) discussed that the impact of web-based e-learning and teaching environment has influenced every facet of library and information services in academic libraries and providing new opportunities and challenges to the library professionals. They also discussed the requirement of changes in the curriculum of LIS and skills of the professionals to meet the requirements of education society. Jain, Kaur and Babbar (2007) (5) said, the library schools of India have failed to develop the required knowledge and skills relating to the use of information technology among students. As a result, the graduates from the LIS departments have little competitive potential in the information market. Sing and Shahid (2010) (12) said that employers are not satisfied with the skills of information professionals. UGC Model Curriculum 2001 has become outdated because of the technological gap between 2001 and the present. For this, there is a need to update the new skills of library professional's tune-up with present and future job requirements.

  4. LIS education in India at University level:

    Library and Information Science is an interdisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources. LIS education in University level was started in 1915 but degree level LIS education had been started in 1948 by the hands of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan in Delhi University. Delhi University was the first Indian university to have started Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Library Science in 1951. Later, it also started Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in the year 1980. Library science schools and teaching departments across the country have to take significant steps to revise library science curriculum and incorporate significant changes to achieve the demands and challenges of library science profession.

  5. Role of UGC for the development of Model Curriculum for Library and Information Science:

    The Government of India established University Grants Commission (UGC) by an Act of parliament in 1956. Since its beginning, it has been traced for formulating Model Curriculum for Library and Information Science. Several Committees appointed by UGC and they have submitted their report to UGC namely- 1. Ranganathan Committee on "Library Education" (1960) 2. Kaula Committee on Curriculum Development in LIS Education (1990) 3. Karisiddappa Committee on Curriculum Development in LIS Education (2001).

    The aims of all these reports are aimed at formulating LIS Curriculums at two levels, Bachelor's and Master's. Since library and information science at the university level are imparting two courses namely BLIS (One year) and MLIS (One year), the latest UGC Model Curriculum (2001) recommends with an option that the universities may run for two years integrated MLIS course after Graduation or one-year BLIS and one-year MLIS and in 2014 UGC also gave emphasis on one-year BLISc and MLISc (13).

    5.1 Curriculum Development Committee (CDC):

    In 2001, the Curriculum Development Committee (CDC), formed by UGC under the chairmanship of Prof. C.R. Karisiddappa framed a modular curriculum keeping in view the present development in the job market in India. It recommended course contents for BLISc, MLISc as well as integrated two-year MLISc degree (15).

    UGC Model curriculum has followed the modular approach to the curriculum. There are six core modules and one module on electives. The modules are:

    Module--1: Foundations of Library and information science

    Module--2: Knowledge organization, information processing and retrieval

    Module--3: Information Sources...

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