Curriculum Development in Library and Information Science Education in Nigerian Universities: Issues and Prospects

Article excerpt

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 Challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, outdated I changing curricula,(italics is mine) poor human and financial resources, lack of access to necessary information resources for learning and poor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. …