Democratisation of South African LIS Education: Some Causes and Effects

Fiona Bell
2002 Libri  
In South Africa during the 1980s and 1990s socially conscious librarians took steps to transform librarianship. This inevitably led to the democratisation of library and information science (LIS) education. This process was inextricably linked to the social, political and economic events in the country as it prepared for its first democratic elections in 1994. From the traditional approach to library and information work prevalent in the apartheid era emerged an alternative approach. This new
more » ... pproach. This new approach recognised strong links between libraries and the struggle for democracy and rejected the idea of librarianship as a neutral activity. Various leading librarians in South Africa began to criticise the prevailing model of education for librarianship and to redefine its educational goals and objectives. The need for more appropriate training as well as rapid technological changes necessitated curriculum revision. A newly emerging clientele and the appearance of resource centres and community libraries also called for alternative training for information workers. By 1994, in spite of plans, policy-making and recognition of the need for change in the education for librarians, problems of fragmentation, a lack of articulation of programmes and little differentiation and specialisation persisted in LIS education and training. Although there have been further policy initiatives and gains resulting in legislation in the 1990s, the democratisation process of LIS education in 2001 is far from complete.
doi:10.1515/libr.2002.55 fatcat:ktkrlekdibhw3f4v6oqebzijum