A Decade of Formal Library and Information Science Education in Malawi: the Case of Mzuzu University

CHAWINGA, Winner D. (2015) A Decade of Formal Library and Information Science Education in Malawi: the Case of Mzuzu University. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa in Session 196 - LIS Education in Developing Countries SIG.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1073
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

A Decade of Formal Library and Information Science Education in Malawi: the Case of Mzuzu University

It is well documented in the literature that Library and Information Science (LIS) schools in Africa especially in South Africa and West Africa have existed since the 20th Century. However, in Malawi, the only LIS School was established in 2003 in the Faculty of Information Science and Communications at Mzuzu University (MZUNI). The School enrolled its first diploma and undergraduate degree students in 2003 and 2005 respectively. The study investigated trends and roles, the relevance of the core LIS courses and the challenges that the Department of LIS at MZUNI faces. Qualitative and quantitative designs had equal status by collecting data using various methods including questionnaires, document analysis and interviews. Two notable developments that have taken place in the Department include the introduction of a Master’s degree in LIS whose curriculum development was funded by International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) and the training of a total of 103 and 269 LIS professionals at diploma and degree level respectively. Information Literacy, Database Management Systems, Computer and Communication Technology, Computer Networks, Cataloguing and Classification, Information Storage and Retrieval, Collection Development and Digital Librarianship are the most important courses in that order according to the LIS professionals. Between 54.2% and 91.7% LIS professionals and most lecturers want the Department to introduce new degree programmes in Information Technology for LIS, Records Management and Publishing and Multimedia. The results show further that 91.7% LIS professionals and six lecturers want the name of the Department changed from LIS to Information Science (IS). Limited funding, lack of appreciation of the LIS profession by policy makers and lack of working relationship between the Department and the industry remain the key problems affecting LIS education in Malawi.

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