Challenges of Students' Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) in library and information science in the ICT environment.

Author:Ugwuanyi, Chijioke F.


Training is a key factor in enhancing the efficiency and expertise of the workforce. The Students Work Experience (SIWES) program prepares students for labor markets. It has become an innovative phenomenon in human resources development and training in Nigeria. The library profession, like other professions, is dynamic. This dynamism is in response to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). With the introduction of ICT into the field of library and information science (LIS), it has become imperative that library and information science practitioners possess the skill needed to function effectively in an ICT environment.

Lawal (2002), quoting Francis Bacon, describes a professional as one who has mastered certain specialized intellectual techniques, and adds that it was the intellectual content which came to distinguish the profession from the medieval craft. According to him, increased specialization of skills means that the term "profession" is now used for certain occupations which enjoy prestige and which give esoteric service. Such professions include architects, surveyors, doctors, librarians and information scientists, and engineers, among others.

The intellectual work of librarians derives from the application of scientific principles in organizing, storing, retrieving, and disseminating information. In recent years, the library profession has been affected by developments in ICT. Igbinosa (2007) notes that advances in ICT have changed the paradigm of librarians' work from information storage to one of access to world literature resources using electronic databases, the Internet, and other digital resources. According to Omekwu (2005), digital technology has revolutionized the information acquisition, storage, and retrieval processes. The application of ICT in libraries has widened the scope of librarianship, conferred new roles on libraries, and has placed more demands on the ability of librarians. Karisiddappa (2004) stresses that the contemporary environment indicates a pressing need to educate and train library employees for a sustainable professional competence. LIS programs are skill-oriented, and to acquire adequate skill, training must occur in the appropriate environment.

Nature and Scope of Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES)

Practical knowledge relates to doing. According to Ochiagha (1995) practical knowledge is learning without which mastery of an area of knowledge may be too difficult to achieve. Practical knowledge involves developing skills through the use of tools or equipment to perform tasks that are related to a field of study.

No society can achieve meaningful progress without encouraging its youth to acquire necessary practical skills. Such skills enable them to harness available resources to meet the needs of society. It was against this background that SIWES, otherwise referred to as Industrial Training (IT), was introduced in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

SIWES is a skill development program designed to prepare students of universities, polytechnics/monotechnics, and colleges of education for transition from the college environment to work (Akerejola 2008). Oyedele (1990) states that work experience is an educational program in which students participate in work activities while attending school. This work experience program gives students the opportunity to be part of an actual work situation outside the classroom. SIWES is a cooperative industrial internship program that involves institutions of higher learning, industries, the federal government of Nigeria, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and NBTE/NCCE in Nigeria. Students that participate in this work experience program include those studying library science, engineering, vocational, technological, and related courses in institutions of higher learning. SIWES forms part of the approved minimum academic standards in these institutions. SIWES is a core academic requirement carrying four credit units. This requirement must be met by all students in library and information science before graduation...

To continue reading