Information Science Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Present Practices and Future Possibilities

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Addis Ababa University


This thesis examines the trends in information science education being offered at master's degree level within Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa, with a view to identifying its current status, core competencies shared in common, problems, and implications, and to draw suitable recommendations for its improvement. Analysis of the master's programmers being offered in the selected schools in the US and UK was done to identify the situation in the "Developed World". A survey was conducted using self-administered questionnaires, interviews and informal discussions. Respondents included the Deans of schools of LIS , SISA graduates from 1990 to 1996, and experts in the field. Analysis of the survey findings was based on the Unesco Modular Curriculum for Information Studies, with special emphasis on Information Science Findings reveal that (1) information science as an academic discipline is relatively new in SSA, and almost exclusively offered in library schools except ARC IS and SIS A programmers; (2) the size of information scientists is very small; (3) there's a general lack of highly qualified faculty; (4) small level of IT in the curricula; (5) limited laboratory and bibliographic facilities; (6) lack of standards for accreditation; (7) inadequate funding; and (8) lack of alumni association, and academic links. Due to the differences in the levels of development, the situation in the US and UK was comparatively better. The overall pattern of the courses, their durations, and admission requirements share many features in all programmers . SISA program has been recognized as very strong, more IT oriented, and relevant to LIS employment and market demands. Career developments of SISA graduates seem to be excellent, and career prospects for information scientists are promising within governmental, private, and international organizations. Future possibilities and recommendations focus on active service and unity of purpose among LIS schools, professional associations, professionals in the field , and the user community. Recognition of information as a vital resource for socio-economic development, by the governments and the private sector, is paramount to the future of information science education in SSA. The need for the curricula to reflect and remain responsive to the developments in the "Information Age" has been underscored. Profiles of information scientists and schools of information science in SSA have been developed to facilitate the invisible college. This study, as is expected, would help Library and Information Science Schools in SSA improve their academic programmers, build cooperation among schools and their products thereby building and strengthening a strong community of information professionals in the region



Information Science