Human capital for Nigerian libraries in the 21st century.

Author:Igun, Stella E.


Studies of libraries in general and university libraries in particular have consistently reported inadequate levels of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) literacy as one of the major problems facing libraries in Nigeria as they move into the 21st century. ICT infrastructure development and poor funding have been identified as problems, followed by poor ICT skills among staff (Oduwole, 2005; Adedoyin 2005). These are the same problems confronting libraries in most developing countries. Amekuedee (2005) reported similarly for Ghana and Qian Zhou (2005) for China.

What are the implications of this lack of ICT skills for the human capital development efforts and programmes of developing countries such as Nigeria? This paper describes human development programmes needed by countries such as Nigeria to prepare its libraries and its citizens for the new information and information technology of the 21st century.

Human Capital and Development

Human capital may be defined as the total stock of knowledge, skills, competencies, and innovative abilities possessed by the population. Among the most important changes that characterize the 21st century are, "the increasing importance of knowledge as a driver of economic growth; the information and communication revolution; the advent of a worldwide labour market and global socio-political transformations" (World Bank 2002).

Human capital development has become a core element in the development efforts of developing countries, in the knowledge society of the 21st century. This is because, "comparative advantage among nations derive less and less from natural resources and cheap labour endowment and increasingly from technical innovations and the competitive use of knowledge" (World Bank 2002:8). In the new environment, the learning paradigm has changed. The new paradigm is lifelong learning, in which there is less emphasis on remembering facts and basic data, and more emphasis on process, analytical knowledge, skills, and competences. The emphasis is "learning to learn; learning to transform information into new knowledge; and learning to translate new knowledge into applications" (World Bank, 2002:29). In this new paradigm, cooperative education is central. Periods of institution-based learning produce the foundation of knowledge, and the acquisition of work-related skills, competences, and practices in relevant workplaces build on this foundation. The training of librarian for the 21st century...

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