A comparative analysis of library and information science post graduate education in India and UK.

Author:Siddiqui, Suboohi


Education is undoubtedly a process of living. It cherishes and inculcates morale values, disseminates knowledge, spreads information relevant to its institutions and keeps alive the creative and sustaining spirit. Education today is the most important investment that government of different states and countries make. Developed as well as developing countries of the modern era need to stress on building the creative and productive capacities of their workforce. The last two decades have definitely witnessed the tremendous changes in the higher education system and library and information science (LIS) is also experiencing a period of change, reflecting a combination of internal and, more importantly, external factors Gerolimos (2009). Those changes, which are related to the essence of the library profession, operations, services and user's information seeking behavior, have inevitably affected LIS education. Issues such as the internationalization of LIS education, the equivalence of qualifications, the orientation of LIS education, the training and professional background of LIS faculty and the competition with other disciplines that manage information, lead to a volatile environment. These circumstances have an impact on the structure of curriculum, the content of courses and the orientation of LIS institutions.

Library and information science (LIS) education has become increasingly challenging in the context of emerging information communication technologies and competitive with the frontier subjects like computer science, mass communication, management studies etc. The schools of library and information science across the world have to compete for students in the recruitment market. LIS market needs a new breed of professionals who possess relevant capabilities and competencies in todays changed context. In order to succeed, librarians in developing economies need to have a clear understanding of how and the extent to which an individual or group of individuals or societies generate, acquire, distribute, communicate and utilize information regardless of its nature, package, quality, content and significance. Hence the need for continued review of the curriculum of the LIS schools in developing countries and the redefinition of library and information profession for professional identity and relevance of information work and workers in developing countries is required.

Literature Review

The literature review was undertaken to study the existing literature on library and information science post graduate courses in India. Discussing the condition of LIS education in developing countries Asundi and Karisiddappa (2007) has observed LIS curriculum for the developing countries. This paper discusses the pros and cons of LIS Education scenario in the developing countries and stresses the need for model curriculum and presents a succinct profile and contributions of Indian LIS education since its inception. In brief the designed course contents should concentrate in developing knowledge, skills and tools corresponding to the four basic identified areas creation, collection, communication and consolidation.

Similar study made by Babu and Rao (1991) discusses trends, challenges and future of library and information science education in India. It states that the major responsibility of the LIS departments in India is to groom LIS students in the philosophy, knowledge, and professional values of librarianship, as practiced in libraries and in other contexts, and as guided by the vision of the 21st century librarianship. Mortezaie and Naghshineh (2002) made a comparative case study of graduate course in library & information studies in the UK, USA, India and Iran lessons for Iranian LIS professionals. It highlights that most significant feature of LIS graduates programs are: diversity of course offered; university independence; diversity of degrees offered; ease and flexibility of the higher education system; updated course programs; emphasis on research; course and curricula development. There seems to be a direct correlation between the efficiency of the courses offered with the state of the information industry in the countries studies. It reveals that there is a widening chasm between LIS education in developing countries without any significant restructuring, the LIS programs in Iran will provide little in the way of riding out the rapid transition that the field is currently experiencing. A joint study made by Aman and Sharma (2005) entitled "Development of library and information science education in South Asia with emphasis on India" has discussed strengths, problems and suggestions in India. This article traces the history of LIS education developments in all South Asian countries with emphasis on India. It deals with the contributions of S.R. Ranganathan. Introduction of technology since the 1990s certainly has changed the field in many countries of the region. The article includes a discussion of strengths and weaknesses of the program, with a few suggestions to improve the field further for the benefit of LIS programs in all South Asian countries.

Rehman and Marouf (2008) conducted a survey to observe the perceptions & reflections M. L. I. Sc. program at Kuwait University. The study aims to analyze the perceptions of the graduates of masters in library & information science program at Kuwait University about course work, faculty, instructional methods, instructional facilities, fieldwork, comprehensive examinations and research components. This study has brought forth many important points that require reflection and proper deliberation. These graduates have gone through a heavy core of coursework of 24 credit hours. They appear to be generally satisfied with the content and substance of the core. But, the fieldwork requirement, as part of the core, was not received well across the board. Rehman (2010) has reported the need for redesigning of LIS curriculum for a changing market. This exercise resulted in the identification of competencies around which the curriculum for the Master's program at Kuwait University has been redesigned. A new degree program has been designed, and new names for both the degree and department have been proposed. This study has established the need of conducting systematic and comprehensive analyses of the market in order to have a good insight into the needs of the clientele and stakeholders.

Indications from this study suggest that though LIS education has reached a global dimension since it has harmoniously adopted the developments in information and communication technologies the LIS profession has attained the status of a full-fledged discipline in India. However, it has low recognition and has not been regarded at par with other well-known professions. It should be designed to fill the national needs of libraries. The efforts of the UGC in setting up curriculum development committees in various disciplines and bringing out model curricula indicates its leaning toward centralization, but in practice it has not yet happened. No continuous efforts in monitoring the developments in the discipline. The discipline must be continuously monitored, including weaknesses and strengths of course content, suggestions from teachers with regard to the utility, sustainability, and duration of teaching of each topic, additions and deletions needed.

Objectives of the Study

The study was carried out in view of the following objectives:

i. To give a brief overview of the present scenario of post graduate LIS program in select LIS schools in universities of India and United Kingdom (UK). ii. To assess the LIS curriculum at master's level programme in select LIS Schools in India and UK in the digital era. iii. To identify the traditional courses of study as well as ICT courses being taught at master's level in select LIS schools in universities under study. iv. To examine the students' evaluation methods used at master's level in select LIS schools in universities under study. v. To examine the various teaching methods used in select LIS schools in universities under study. vi. To find out the areas of LIS education at master's level that needs to be strengthened in India as compared to UK. Scope of the Study

There are as many as 92 universities institutions imparting master's degree programme in library and information science and related fields of which 70 are offering one year M. L. I. Sc. programme, 15 offer two year M. L. I. Sc., 2 universities offer two year MSc in information science programme, and one deemed university offers two year Master of Information Science (MISc) and 2 deemed universities offer Associate ship in Information Science (AISc) and 1 university is offering two year MIM (Master of Information Management) programme under fully self-finance scheme. Of the 70 universities of offering one year M. L. I. Sc. programme 44 are regular universities, 6 distance education institution/universities, 8 self-finance courses for a period of 2 years, and 4 are self-finance courses of year duration, 7 are degree colleges and 1 is deemed university. Out of 15 universities offering two years M. L. I. Sc. programme, 12 are regular universities, 2 are Degree College and1 is run under self-finance course by one university (Walia, 2008).

As per CILIP account 17 departments of various universities produces over 800 graduates every year. First degree in Library require 3-4 year for getting graduate degree. The graduate diploma requires 9 months while post graduate diploma requires 12 months. While master's degree requires 12 months for full time 2-3 years for part time. The scope of the study id limited to formal library and information science education programme at the post graduate level conducted by the university departments in India and UK (CILIP, 2012).

Schools from India

10 LIS schools have been selected from India. To select the sample India is divided into 6...

To continue reading