Challenges posed by diversity in Academic institutions as they implement Information Literacy: the experiences of Makerere University Library in Uganda
Over the years, academic libraries have been conducting information literacy (IL) programmes for their users. This paper shares Makerere University Library's experience in implementing IL programmes at Makerere University and other academic institutions of learning in Uganda. The findings of this paper are based on the IL sessions' evaluation forms, together with the authors' experiences as instructors. A sample of one thousand (1000) participants' evaluation feedback forms was used in assessing the IL sessions conducted by Makerere University Library in two years (2008-2009). The evaluation focused on the duration and relevancy of training, nature of content, its organization; the instructors, new skills participants gained and how they hoped to pass them to others. Initial findings indicate that IL sessions are highly regarded with repeated recommendations for increased duration and frequency of information literacy sessions in different universities. The various challenges posed by diversity are explained as follows: Difference in age groups arise because admissions to the various universities cater for direct entrants from high school and mature age entrants'. Students also come from different social backgrounds that dictate the standard of schools they attend i.e.; urban schools where education standards are high and skills such as using computers are imparted visa-a-vis the rural schools where such skills are not imparted. To the IL instructor, this implies conducting the training with patience and extending the time allocated for each session in order to impart the basic ICT skills prior to imparting the IL skills. Internationalization on the other hand is not a very big challenge because the proportion of foreign students is small and their ICT skills are moderate. Gender aspects and the diverse disciplines of research in the Ugandan universities also pose challenges when conducting IL sessions in that the groups handled at a time are normally composed of participants from different disciplines. The paper then addresses the possible strategies to these challenges and makes recommendations focused on improving the IL programmes conducted in academic institutions in Uganda.
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Copyright (c) 2011 Faith Beatrice Akiteng, Maria G.N. Musoke
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