Exploring the extent to which English LIS Masters programs in the UAE and Qatar meet the skills and knowledge needs of employers in the library and information studies field

JOHNSTON, Nicole and MAVODZA, Judith and JIRJEES, Jassim Mohammed (2015) Exploring the extent to which English LIS Masters programs in the UAE and Qatar meet the skills and knowledge needs of employers in the library and information studies field. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa in Session 169 - Education and Training with LIS Education in Developing Countries SIG and Library Theory and Research.

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Exploring the extent to which English LIS Masters programs in the UAE and Qatar meet the skills and knowledge needs of employers in the library and information studies field

The aim of this paper is to discuss the degree to which English Library and Information Science (LIS) Masters Programs in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) meet the skills and knowledge needs of employers in the library and information studies field. The development of two Masters degrees are outlined including the historical perspective, the reasons for developing these courses, the content of the courses and the current situation regarding associations and accreditation. This paper also reports on the results of surveys and research that has been conducted to assess what courses, skills and knowledge employers and employees require and need in the diverse LIS field in the UAE and Qatar. The two Masters LIS programs being offered in the UAE and Qatar by the American University in the Emirates, and at University College London Qatar, are meeting quality assurance standards based on Quality Assurance organisations such as the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) and Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and are also meeting the needs of the local international library community through development of courses in the programs and continuing professional development courses. Graduating MLIS graduates who measure up to the national manpower requirements is a major instigator driving the direction that library schools are taking. It is also clear, however that there is still need for more library and information science training and education at various levels in order to meet the demands of the market. This paper concludes that the development of a library association in the region is necessary in order to help grow and develop the profession and once developed would be a starting point for discussions on accreditation of LIS degrees in the Gulf region. While ALA assists employers in the United States and Canada who have job applicants with international degrees in library and information science, the Qatar Supreme Education Council and the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research play that role in the mentioned countries respectively. Ultimately the employer has to match job expectations with candidate competencies using the details of qualifications received. This paper recommends that a list of degrees and what body has accredited them and benchmarking the subject knowledge and skills against the IFLA or American Library Association (ALA) accreditation statements is undertaken through an international association such as IFLA so that employers are better informed as to the quality assurance and standards of degrees around the world.

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