Education and training of information professionals in a changing information management environment: a case of the East African School of Library and Information Science, Makerere University
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This study aimed at assessing the adequacy of LIS education and training offered at the East African School of Library and Information Science (EASLIS) to the needs of the current changing information management environment. It examined the trends in information management with a focus on identifying the competences expected of information professionals. It assessed the LIS curricula for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in relation to the changing information management environment and established the level of relevance and skill gaps. It investigated the teaching methodologies and the state of the facilities and provisions that aid LIS education and training. The study was based on case study design where questionnaires, observation, content analysis and face-to-face interviews were applied to obtain data for the research. Snowball sampling technique was applied to select LIS graduates while purposive and convenience techniques were applied to select LIS employers, academic staff and LIS final-year students who participated in the study. The findings indicate that LIS curricula do not sufficiently meet the needs of the changing information management environment. Practical training and integration of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in both undergraduate and postgraduate curricula were found to be inadequate. The findings further show limited availability of facilities and insufficient study provisions, especially teaching space, reading resources, computer laboratories and equipment. They also show various challenges that LIS educators face in delivering their services, with the major ones being lack of adequate funds and the continuously evolving information management environment and labour market requirements. The main recommendations made in the study were: enhancement of practical lessons; integration of ICTS in LIS curricula; and timely curricula reviews. Other recommendations were: availing more space for teaching and learning, renovating and equipping the computer laboratories with the necessary resources; acquisition of relevant and up-to-date reading resources; recruitment of competent lecturers; and engaging teaching staff in academic research and publications as a means of enhancing their career. It is important for educators to know that the information management environment is constantly evolving as new information technological innovations emerge, hence the need for information professionals who are not only IT-competent but also multi-skilled.
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