Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Faculty-Librarian Collaboration on Developing Reading Skills in Tertiary Institutions

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Faculty-Librarian Collaboration on Developing Reading Skills in Tertiary Institutions

Article excerpt

A paper presented at the 3rd Annual ELTT National Conference, held at Senate Chambers, University of Agriculture (UNAAB). Abeokuta, October 5-7, 2005.

Introduction

Rader (1996) observes that,

   As higher education prepares for the 21st century, enormous changes
   are occurring due to technological development. Learning must now
   be continuous and almost a "way of being" with universities
   teaching their constituents to integrate learning opportunities
   into everything they do in order to be successful in the constantly
   changing work environment and in society (Vaill, 1996). Higher
   education is also looking closely at the business world, where
   strategic advantages are now more and more based on learning and
   teaching to take advantage of evolving technology, the Internet,
   the global marketplace, and the new economy (Harris, 1996).

The environment that Rader describes for the US is similar to that in Nigeria, with a demand for accountability, doing more with less, and an expanding demand for distance learning. By Decree No. 1 of 1974, the National Universities Commission (NUC) statutorily became the sole agency responsible for advising the Federal Government on all aspects of higher education. By Decree No. 16 of 1985, the NUC was given the responsibility to lay down minimum educational standards for all academic programmes taught in Nigerian universities and to accredit those programmes. NUC now rates universities on criteria like percentage of academic programmes with full academic status; compliance with carrying capacity (measured by the degree of deviation from carrying capacity); proportion of the academic staff at professional level; foreign content (staff); proportion of students who are non-Nigerians; foreign content (students); proportion of staff with outstanding academic achievements; research output; student completion rate; PhD graduate output; stability of university calendar and student-to-computer ratio. The missions of universities and libraries is changing to meet the needs of the present environment (Schwartz, 1997).

Higher Education in Nigerian Universities

The Nigerian higher education system consists of universities, polytechnics, monotechnics, colleges of education and research institutes. Education is regarded by Nigerians as it is in other parts of the world, as the main instrument for social, political and economic development of the nation. A World Bank study revealed the increasing rate of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees on the Indian subcontinent (World Bank, 1998, p. 43). Oni (1996) states that

   Nation states invest in university education because society
   expects it to contribute to national development in three principal
   ways. In the first place, society expects its university to produce
   the highly skilled personnel in technology, engineering, management
   and other professions. Secondly, universities have the
   responsibility of producing their own corps of academic personnel
   that is, the intellectual resource pool that will, through
   scientific research generate new knowledge and innovation to solve
   development problems. Thirdly, universities produce the teachers,
   administrators and managers for other levels of human resources
   development institutions. A university is able to perform these
   complementary roles if it has the necessary financial resources,
   equipment, and libraries operate in an environment that is
   conducive to academic work.

Oni (1996) quotes Yesufu (1996) on the condition of higher education Nigeria:

   The student-teacher ratios are worsening in virtually all
   disciplines. Laboratories are either non-existent or completely
   denuded of essential equipment and experimental consumables.
   Libraries cry out for updating with current books, periodicals and
   research findings. Teachers are grossly underpaid and many have had
   to resort to migration to other countries to seek how to keep body
   and soul together, and further their intellectual development. … 
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