Justification for Reform in Library and Information Science Education in Nigerian Universities

Article excerpt

Introduction

Education helps define the life, values, political culture, and economic power of a nation. Knowledge, skills, norms, and values of responsible citizenship are inculcated through education. It is through education that the human resource capital of a nation is harnessed and deployed for development. As a nation, we often focus on projects like roads, housing, water, and power. According to Jumaid (2008) we must bear in mind that we need:

* An educated workforce to build those roads, bridges, and houses.

* Educated people to staff hospitals

* Educated people to run our information centres, communication networks, and factories.

* Educated policy-makers and administrators

* Educated leaders for tomorrow.

Without education, we have no society, no democracy, and no future. Nations like Singapore, China, and India readily admit that an improved education system was critical to their development process. They made education a priority focus, because they realized that without education could be no economic leap.

There is no doubt that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has found its niche in education. Developments in the education sector in developed and developing countries attest to the fact that ICT has become a central focus of many countries' educational policies and such, its use and integration has become widespread in the various school systems. The increasing trend of the use of ICT in classroom work across the globe has been necessitated by three major factors:

* Electronic technological devices are being used to prepare the present generation of young people for a future workplace that will undoubtedly be characterized by information technology (IT). Preparing students and the wider citizenry for tomorrow's world can only be done through a careful use of ICT tools, computers, Internet spreadsheets and databases.

* ICT tools makes schools more efficient in the teaching-learning enterprise. Classroom teachers' personal professional development and academic productivity have been greatly enhanced.

* ICT tools are being used to improve, reform or renovate teaching and learning. Learners are stimulated to learn actively either on an independent basis or working closely with others. (Olorundare, 2007).

With the advent of ICT, library and information providers, especially in the developed countries, have been able to serve patrons not only face to face but also virtually. Library and Information science curricula have been under constant review in order to meet the requirements of ICT in the electronic age. The case is different in Nigeria. Library systems here are largely dominated by conservative and unproductive practices. However, with the wind of reform now blowing across the various sectors and sub-sectors of the economy, library and information science should not be left out.

The Concept of Reform

Reform as it applies to education connotes the efforts made by stakeholders, especially the government, towards making the educational process more effective, functional, and productive. Achunine (2006) sees the educational reforms, as a comprehensive reworking or rebuilding of the educational system for the ultimate purpose of improving teaching and learning. Reform is in some cases required to as restructuring. Restructuring refers to changing the system of rules, relationship and roles that govern the way, time, people, knowledge, skills, space and technology are used.

The goal of restructuring is to preserve and build upon what has been successful in the process of educating our children and more so to re-think and redesign those aspects of the enterprise that have either failed or become obsolete. To Adepoju and Olaniji (1997) educational reform and innovation are "synonymous with the injection of new ideas, methods and techniques or strategies into educational system so as to improve both internal and external efficiency and arrangements of the system and more of development social cultural, political, economic or technological. …