Changing needs of library and information science curricula in India.

Author:Singh, Joginder


Curriculum guides student activities and develops instructional procedures for realizing educational objectives. Curriculum models are part of instructional design. Formulating theories of teaching, learning, and instruction begins with what is known about learning and instruction. Teaching models are the basis of teaching theories. Curriculum models are a way of expressing teaching theories.

Ocholla (n.d.) states that,

A curriculum is a fundamental part of any education or training programmes largely because it provides not only a list of courses or modules offered in a programme, but it also gives information on content, purpose, method, time/duration, trainers and location or situation of a programme or course--all of which are essential in a successful dispensation of manpower training and education."

The twenty-first century information professional must possess skills in selection, content management, knowledge management, organization of information, research services, developing and maintaining digital libraries, and bringing information resources to the desktop. People with the right skills are crucial to the success and competitiveness of contemporary information environments (Varalakshmi 2006).The jobs of the librarians have become more competitive with similar professions such as those in information technology. Library professionals must acquire the relevant skills and expertise to be competent in a digital culture.

Most of the curriculum followed in Indian LIS programs is outdated with little or no focus on the requirements of libraries or IT organizations. Programs may have traditional courses like classification and cataloguing, reference, bibliographic searching, and professional values, but the curriculum does not reflect the current needs of LIS field.

What is Curriculum

Curriculum is not easily defined. Debates are carried on over the child- versus subject-centered approach, as well as the activity-centered approach, integrated approaches, transmission of culture, or

the totality of learner experiences. The curriculum may define essential skills to meet some level of independence, and what further skills are desirable. Curriculum defines the skills and objectives to reach an optimal level of independence.

Curriculum is the Latin word for "course," which comes from Latin "currere," "to run." Historically, curriculum means classified selections of accumulated knowledge in academic subjects. Curriculum is the totality of influences and experiences, selected and unselected, conscious, subconscious, and even unconscious, and planned and unplanned, which the pupil receives through the school, in the classroom, library, laboratory, workshop, and playground and in the informal contacts between teachers and pupils.

Curriculum Development Process

Dash (2007) discusses curriculum development:

* Curriculum should be dynamic to meet the problems of the students. It should be treated differently.

* Curriculum development should be viewed at an ongoing, dynamic process, always be in a state of planned changes.

The process of curriculum design should be adoptable and applicable to many different subjects and situations. The teacher should have a primary role in the design process. They should not be relegated to a secondary position in identifying appropriate curriculum for their students

LIS education in India

The development of LIS as a field of study began with the basic skills of classification, cataloguing, indexing, reference, bibliographical search, and professional values. Dr. S.R. Ranganathan played a vital role in the development of library education, libraries, and the library profession in India. Formal LIS education in India is nearly 100 years old.

LIS Education before Independence (1910-1947)

Library education programmes started in several places long before independence in 1947. It is estimated that there were five universities conducting a diploma course before independence. In India, more professionally-trained librarians are being graduated than elsewhere in Asia, probably due to a longer-established tradition of British-inspired university organization and scholarship (Gilter 1967). In the past there was little emphasis on library service in the modern sense. Library training was not necessary and an apprenticeship in a library was sufficient. Library science training in India dates back to 1910, with formal from 1911, when the Gaekwad of Baroda, Shivaji Rao II, invited W.A. Bordon who was a librarian of the Young Man's Institute, New Haven, Connecticut, USA and a pupil of Melvil Dewey. He spent his three years organizing a library system for the State of Baroda and started the first training course for library professionals at Central Library in Baroda in 1911. Another American librarian, Asa Don Dickinson, was appointed by the Indian Government in 1915 at the University of Punjab (now in Pakistan) to organize and catalogue its library. He introduced a course of training in library methods, which was considered to be the second library school in the world, the first being at Columbia University in the US. In 1919, University of Punjab awarded a certificate in Modern Library Methods. The University of Madras began a three month certificate course in librarianship in 1929 which were inspired by Dr. S.R. Ranganathan. In 1937, it changed to a one-year...

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