Curriculum development in library and information science education in Nigerian Universities: issues and prospects.

Author:Edegbo, Wilson. O.
Position:Report
 
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Introduction

Library and information science education in Nigeria has come a long way. Since the first library school in 1960 at the university College Ibadan, several changes have been witnessed in the society at large and in the library profession in particular (Igwe, 2005 and Nzotta, 1978).

It is inarguable that developments in our society technological or otherwise have brought significant changes to library and information science (LIS) education all over the world. Among all the changes occurred in LIS education, the ones that are most visible and observable can be found in the LIS curricula. That is, the curriculum for LIS education usually mirrors what is being offered to train librarians and information professionals' knowledge and skills to become qualified personnel in the field, but also meet challenges the ever changing information society brings (Chu, 2006).

According to Igwe (2005) new trends and development worldwide emerge posing great challenge for library and information science education in Nigeria. Challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, outdated I changing curricula,(italics is mine) poor human and financial resources, lack of access to necessary information resources for learning and poor communication among key player in the library schools are some of the major issues library schools in Nigeria are contending with.

The provision of opportunities to meet the basic learning needs of information professionals is a first step towards preparing library and information science schools in Nigeria for the emerging global society. The relevance and viability of library and information science education in Nigeria requires looking at both the access to and quality in new ways to enhancing the quality of products turned out from the universities into the labour market. The survival of library and information science education in Nigeria depends largely on the quality of faculty and students.

This work therefore will want to look at the library and information science education curriculum in Nigeria as it affects the graduates of library and information science in Nigeria with respect to the labour market of this age of digitalization.

Education

Lukeman and Njoku (2007) opined that library and information science (LIS) education can only be meaningfully discussed within the context of education generally, and vis-a-vis the cultural milieu for which it is provided.

Peretomode (2007) observed that Nigeria like other countries of the world recognises education as the major instrument for effecting national development. The formal educational system in most nations of the world has been organised into three levels, namely; primary, secondary and higher education. In this context we shall be looking at higher education.

Higher education, also referred to as or tertiary education, post secondary education or further education, is the education "given after secondary education in universities, colleges of education, polytechnics, monotechnics, including those institutions offering correspondence courses"(Peretomode, 2008 quoting NPE 2004:34).

Higher education according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia online (2008) refers to a level of education that is provided by universities vocational universities, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, institutes of technology and other collegiate level institution ... that award academic degrees or professional certifications. The bottom line here is the "degree of intellectual capacity required at this level of education"(Peretomode, 2008 quoting OECD, The World Bank.)

The National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004, 4th edition) in section 8, specifically sub-section 59 (Peretomode, 2008:4), states that the goals of tertiary education i.e. higher education shall be to:

* contribute to the national development through high level relevant manpower training;

* develop and inculcate proper value for the survival of the individual and society;

* develop the intellectual capability of individual to understand and appreciate their local and external environments;

* acquire both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful members of the society;

* promote and encourage scholarship and community service;

* forge and cement national unity;

* promote national and international understanding and interaction.

* The above stated goals according to NPE, section 8 (60) can be achieved through:

(a) teaching

(b) search and development;

(c) generation and dissemination of knowledge, inter- institutional cooperation; and

(d) dedicated services to the community through extra mural and extension services.

Alabi (2004) noted that the most important asserts in every form of higher education are the faculty and students, and that if quality people are not put at the middle of giving and receiving knowledge, the process is bound to fail.

Peretomode (2008) highlights the purposes of tertiary education to include the following:

* the acquisition, development and inculcation of the proper value orientation for the survival of individuals and society;

* the development of the intellectual capacities of individuals and society;

* the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills to enable individuals to develop into useful members of the community;

* the acquisition of an objective view of local and external environment;

* the promotion and encouragement of scholarship and research; and

* the making of optimum contribution of graduates to national unity and envelopment.

He further stressed that higher education at its completion of a programme include

* teaching people to think further, broader and deeper than they have been so far brought up to do;

* give each student a training of mind to enable them think more critically that him or her could understand and be in a position to cope with all the major aspects and questions of human existence both personal and social;

* provide an ethical education - a man who is not just thinking creature but one who knows the differences between right and wrong etc.

The educational system in Africa and Nigeria in particular (Haddad & Draxler, 2002) experienced stagnation in the early nineties. From the late nineties to the present time, education in Nigeria has been declining. The scramble of education alarmingly high, unemployment figures of graduates and down ward slides of every aspects of the educational system in Nigeria are enormous problem.

The world is rapidly changing as rightly observed, that different pattern of labour, new ideas and political participation and human rights, multicultural societies, and environmental problems are evolving in Nigeria as elsewhere in the Africa continent. Pressure of the contemporary age requires people and institutions to continuously acquire new knowledge and skills.

Innovations in Education

The information society demands a work force that can use technology as a tool to increase productivity and creativity. This involves identifying reliable sources of information, effectively accessing these sources of information, synthesizing and communicating that information (Igwe, 2005).

Alabi (2004) noted that postgraduate education is essentially or has become a knowledge based process. This knowledge as a process includes knowledge acquisition, knowledge incubation, knowledge application and knowledge amplification and knowledge dissemination. It is self evident that information is a key resource, which permeates the postgraduates teaching, learning, research and publishing.

This underscores the need for effective method and means of information processing and transmission (Hawkins, 1998). Africa and Nigeria in particular requires new ways to look at both access and quality of education and learning. Unesco (1998) noted that national policies in Africa are placing high priority on improving education through bodies that become a test bed for innovation in teaching and learning.

Advances in information and communication technologies (ICT) facilitate advancement and improvement in education. ICTs enhance the quality of teaching and learning and research processes in the sharing of knowledge and information (Igwe, 2005).

ICTs have potentials (Haddad & Darxler, 2002) to contribute to effective learning through expanding access, promoting efficiency, improving the quality of learning, enhancing the quality of teaching and improving management systems. ICTs also offer possibilities for long distance learning. The introduction of ICT into higher education clearly changes the way education is conducted. Not only is it possible to work with distance learning and achieve a closer collaboration between different universities, ICT is also paving the way for new pedagogical approach where students should be able to communicate, create presentations is power points, interact with colleagues and teachers using technology and so on.

As earlier observed, educational system in Nigeria in all aspects are enormously difficult. Alleviating these problems requires innovation. Governments around the globe are focusing on ways to increase access to and improve the quality of education. Ways of achieving...

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