Article Title: “Library and Information Science Title: “Library and Information Science Education in India: Perspectives and Challenges” Dr. Sanghamitra Pradhan Faculty member Department of library and information science The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda ...

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  • 151 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    Article Title: Library and Information Science Education in India:

    Perspectives and Challenges

    Dr. Sanghamitra Pradhan

    Faculty member

    Department of library and information science

    The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

    Vadodara, Gujarat

    India-390002

    sanghamitrapradhan@rediff.com

    Abstract

    The paper assesses the status of formal library and information science (LIS) education provided

    in India. It is based on a study carried out to bring out the perspective and the challenges in LIS

    education by analyzing the LIS courses, its structure and contents, availability of faculty,

    research contribution, infrastructural facilities, etc. A total of 33 universities, representing each

    region of India, were selected as sample. Content analysis method was applied to analyse the

    contents of the websites under eight categories.

    Findings reveal that a diversified level of LIS courses is observed to suit the demand and

    employability of students at various job levels. LIS courses are updated and designed to meet the

    objectives of an advanced LIS curriculum. Lack of adequate faculty is found to be a major

    setback in imparting quality LIS education.

    The paper recommends establishment of a national accreditation council for LIS education to

    uphold quality and standard in LIS courses. More of technology oriented practical components

    as well as scope to develop soft skill and professional ethics should figure in the syllabus.

    The paper has originality as it contributes to the knowledge regarding current state of LIS

    education in India. It attempts to draw attention of the financing and regulatory authorities of

    higher education to focus on developing needed faculties and facilities urgently.

    Keywords: Library and information science education, LIS courses, LIS professionals, India,

    Universities

    Introduction

    Since information is regarded as the driving force for any kind of societal development whether

    it is economic, intellectual or cultural, however it can be guaranteed only through efficient

    deliverance of information to all. And to accomplish this noble task qualified and competent

    library and information workforce is very inevitable for any society. At same time raising such

    workforce who can manage libraries and information centres well is an obligation of every

    nation. India, the largest democracy in the world, has long realized the need of building an

  • 152 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    effective human resource which could contribute greatly to realize Indias march to become one

    of the developed nations of the world. However the process of developing competent library and

    information science (LIS) professionals is directly related to the quality of LIS education

    imparted to these professionals. Through this paper an attempt has been made to assess how far

    the current LIS education provided in India is capable of meeting the objective of supplying

    competent human resource for nation building.

    Library and information science (LIS) education in India: A brief overview

    Imparting of formal LIS education in India is a century old development. It began to cater the

    need emerged from managing libraries with professionally qualified hands. At present LIS

    education in India covers a wide spectrum of courses ranging from low level certificate and

    diploma in library science to bachelor and master degree in library and information science and

    to high level MPhil and PhD programmes.

    In India, at present LIS education is provided on regular basis in more than 100 universities and

    in some national and regional training institutes. Apart from these a few national open

    universities as well as some state universities also offer various LIS courses through distance

    mode of learning to meet the demand of growing job market in the field.

    Scope of the Paper

    The purpose of this paper is to present the status of library and information science (LIS)

    education in the universities of India on the basis of empirical evidence. The scope of the paper

    is limited to the study of formal LIS education programmes offered at postgraduate level by the

    universities. The paper analyses the LIS courses in terms of its structure, student intake,

    admission criteria, curriculum structure, course contents, faculty, teaching methods, research

    contribution and infrastructure. The scope of the paper does not include the diploma, certificate

    or any short term specialized courses run by various library associations, national and regional

    training institutes, polytechnics, or any of the universities and also LIS courses offered through

    distance education mode.

  • 153 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    Methodology

    The present study covers a sample of 33 universities of India out of more than 100 universities

    that offer LIS education recognized by the University Grant Commission (UGC), a statutory

    body established for maintaining standards in higher education in India. The sample tried to

    represent each region of India. From each region universities were selected. The details of these

    universities are provided in Table 1 Regional distribution of sample universities offering LIS

    education in India, their website address and establishment year of the LIS Departments. 8

    universities from Northern India, 7 from East and North Eastern region, 4 from Central, 8 from

    Southern and 6 from Western India were selected as sample.

    Table 1 Regional distribution of sample universities offering LIS education in India, their

    website address and establishment year of the LIS Departments

    Region Sr.

    No.

    Name of Universities Website address Year of

    Establish

    ment

    Northern

    1 University of Delhi (DU), Delhi www.du.ac.in 1946

    2 Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), Delhi http://jmi.ac.in *1985

    3 Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Banaras www.bhu.ac.in 1942

    4 Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh www.amu.ac.in 1958

    5 Punjab University (PU), Chandigarh www.puchd.ac.in 1960

    6 Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU),

    Amritsar

    www.gndu.ac.in 1970

    7 Kurukshetra University (KU) Kurukshetra http://www.kuk.ac.in/ 1969

    8 Jammu University (JAU) , Jammu www.jammuuniversity.in 1971

    Eastern

    and

    North

    Eastern

    9 Calcutta University (CU), Kolkata www.caluniv.ac.in 1945

    10 Jadavpur University (JDU), Kolkata http://www.jaduniv.edu.in/ 1964

    11 Rabindra Bharati University (RBU), Kolkata http://www.rbu.ac.in/ 1985

    12 Sambalpur University (SU), Burla http://www.suniv.ac.in/ 1976

    13 Utkal University (UU), Bhubaneswar www.utkaluniversity.ac.in 1981

    14 Gauhati University (GU), Gauhati http://www.gauhati.ac.in 1966

    15 North-Eastern Hill University

    (NEHU), Shillong

    http://www.nehu.ac.in 1985

    Central

    16 Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya (DAV), Indore http://www.dauniv.ac.in/ *1993

    17 Jiwaji University (JIU) , Gwalior http://www.jiwaji.edu 1984

    18 Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya (GGU),

    Bilaspur

    http://www.ggu.ac.in/ 1985

    19 Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University (PRSU),

    Raipur

    http://www.prsu.ac.in/ 1971

    20 Andhra University (AU), Visakhapatnam www.andhrauniversity.info 1935

    21 Osmania University (OSU), Hyderabad http://www.osmania.ac.in/ 1959

    22 Gulbarga University (GUU), Gulbarga www.gulbargauniversity.kar.nic.in 1980

    http://www.du.ac.in/http://jmi.ac.in/http://www.bhu.ac.in/http://www.amu.ac.in/http://www.puchd.ac.in/http://www.gndu.ac.in/http://www.kuk.ac.in/http://www.jammuuniversity.in/http://www.caluniv.ac.in/http://www.jaduniv.edu.in/http://www.rbu.ac.in/http://www.suniv.ac.in/http://www.utkaluniversity.ac.in/http://www.gauhati.ac.in/http://www.nehu.ac.in/http://www.dauniv.ac.in/http://www.jiwaji.edu/http://www.ggu.ac.in/http://www.prsu.ac.in/http://www.andhrauniversity.info/http://www.osmania.ac.in/http://www.gulbargauniversity.kar.nic.in/

  • 154 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    Southern

    23 Karnataka University (KU), Dharwad http://www.kud.ac.in 1962

    24 Calicut University (CAU), Kazhikode www.universityofcalicut.info 1977

    25 Kerala University (KEU), Thiruvananthapuram www.keralauniversity.ac.in/ 1961

    26 Annamalai University (ANU), Chidambaram http://annamalaiuniversity.ac.in 1979

    27 Madras University (MDU), Chennai http://www.unom.ac.in/ 1931

    Western

    28 University of Mumbai (MU), Mumbai www.mu.ac.in 1943

    29 University of Pune (UP), Pune www.unipune.ernet.in 1958

    30 Shivaji University (SUK), Kolhapur www.unishivaji.ac.in 1964

    31 Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

    (MSU), Vadodara

    www.msubaroda.ac.in 1956

    32 Gujarat University (GJU), Ahmedabad www.gujaratuniversity.org.in 1965

    33 Sardar Patel University(SPU), Anand www.spuvvn.edu 1982

    * From this year the University library of the respective universities started the LIS courses.

    Data for the study was collected mainly from the websites of the 33 sample universities (see

    Table 1). The websites were accessed during 1st April to 30th April 2013. Content analysis

    method was applied for this study. Contents of the websites hosted by the universities were

    analyzed to get the data required for the study. An information tapping schedule was prepared to

    collect data systematically from the websites. The schedule also helped in maintaining

    consistency in data collection. One fact that needs to be mentioned here is that since websites of

    few universities were not updated recently, there might be some gap in data. However, the author

    contacted the LIS departments of these universities in case need was felt to clarify some content

    and also to fill the gap.

    Analysis and Discussion

    An analysis of data collected from the sample universities revealed that all of them are

    established higher education institutions of India. The departments of LIS founded in these

    universities mostly cater to the human resource needs in the country since long. Initially most of

    these departments started as Department of Library Science. Later on around 1980s onwards, this

    nomenclature has changed to Department of Library and Information Science to reflect the

    changing trend in the field especially to incorporate the increasing contents on information

    science into the discipline. Table 1, provided above, shows the names of the universities, their

    website address and the year of establishment of the LIS departments. The table shows that most

    of the universities have a LIS department which is pretty old, at least 3 decade. Madras

    http://www.kud.ac.in/http://www.universityofcalicut.info/http://www.keralauniversity.ac.in/http://annamalaiuniversity.ac.in/http://www.unom.ac.in/http://www.mu.ac.in/http://www.unipune.ernet.in/http://www.unishivaji.ac.in/http://www.msubaroda.ac.in/http://www.gujaratuniversity.org.in/http://www.spuvvn.edu/

  • 155 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    University, Chennai has the oldest LIS department established in 1931. Jamia Millia Islamia

    (JMI) and Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya (DAV) so far do not have separate LIS department and

    the central library of the respective university conducts the LIS courses.

    Data gathered for the study are systematically presented, analysed and discussed below under the

    following eight aspects to provide a perspective of and the challenges faced by the universities of

    India while imparting LIS education:

    Level of LIS Courses

    During 100 years of its journey, LIS education in India has witnessed many changes. Once

    started as a vocational library course, over the years due to growth in its theoretical base and

    introduction of various multidisciplinary ideas, it has now transformed into one full fledged

    discipline. The course nomenclature subsequently changed to library science education and

    presently to library and information science education. At present LIS education is offered

    through a variety of courses which provide a wide opportunity for the aspirant librarians to

    choose from. The details of different levels of LIS courses offered by the universities and their

    duration are presented in Table 2: Level of LIS Courses.

    Table 2: Level of LIS Courses

    Sr.

    No.

    Name of the University

    BLIS

    1-

    year

    MLIS

    1-

    year

    MLIS

    2-

    year

    2-year

    Integrat

    ed MLIS

    5 year

    Integrat

    ed

    UG+PG

    (MLIS)

    MPhil PHD

    1 University of Delhi (DU), y y y y

    2 Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) y -

    3 Banaras Hindu University (BHU) y y

    4 Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) y y y

    5 Punjab University (PU) y y

    6 Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) y y y y

    7 Kurukshetra University (KU) y y y y

    8 Jammu University (JAU) y y y

    9 Calcutta University (CU) y y y y (2 years)

    y

    10 Jadavpur University (JDU) y y y (2 years)

    y

    11 Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) y y -

    12 Sambalpur University (SU) y y y

    13 Utkal University (UU) y -

  • 156 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    14 Gauhati University (GU) y y y

    15 North-Eastern Hill University

    (NEHU)

    y y

    16 Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya (DAV) y y y -

    17 Jiwaji University (JIU) y y y

    18 Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya

    (GGU)

    y y y

    19 Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University

    (PRSU)

    y y y y y

    20 Andhra University (AU) y y y

    21 Osmania University (OSU) y y y y

    22 Gulbarga University (GUU) y y y

    23 Karnataka University (KU) y y y

    24 Calicut University (CAU) y y y

    25 Kerala University (KEU) y part time

    y y y

    26 Annamalai University (ANU) y y y -

    27 Madras University (MDU) y -M. Sc. in LIS

    y

    28 University of Mumbai (MU) y y y

    29 University of Pune (UP) y y y

    30 Shivaji University (SUK) y y y y

    31 Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) y y y

    32 Gujarat University (GJU) y -

    33 Sardar Patel University(SPU) y y y part time

    y y

    Total No. of Universities offering

    different levels of LIS courses

    18 17 5 14 2 18 27

    Table 2 shows Bachelor of library and information Science (BLIS) and Master of library and

    information Science (MLIS) are the main courses offered. However the pattern of these courses

    in terms of duration is quite different. The pattern mostly followed in universities is one year

    duration for both BLIS and MLIS. There are two semesters in each one year BLIS and one year

    MLIS and both of these generally consisted of 30 credits each. However, Calcutta University

    (CU) and Guru Ghasidas Viswavidyalaya (GGU) run 5 year integrated UG+PG course (3 years

    of under graduation and 2 year MLIS) apart from a 2 year MLIS programme. Two year part time

    MLIS programme are conducted in some universities such as in PRSU, ANU and SPU along

    with their regular LIS programme. Two year integrated MLIS programme is introduced recently

    replacing the 1 year BLIS and 1 year MLIS pattern. This programme has four semesters and the

    total credits here range from 60 to 72 among the universities. This programme is running

  • 157 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    successfully in 14 out of the 33 sample universities. However, Madras University (MU) conducts

    the same programme with a different nomenclature: Master of Science in LIS (M. Sc. in LIS).

    MPhil and Phd courses are also regular feature of LIS education and from the table 2 it is evident

    that majority of the universities offer the opportunity to carry out research which in turn

    strengthens the LIS field. The duration of MPhil is generally 1 year consisting of two semesters

    and is being provided in 15 universities where as CU and JDU offer the same in 2 years. 27 out

    of the 33 sample universities provide opportunity to pursue doctoral course in various areas of

    LIS. Apart from these degrees PG diplomas for specialized learning are also conducted by

    universities such as PG diploma in Digital Information Management (PGDDIM) by Osmania

    University (OSU) and PG diploma in Library Automation and Networking (PGDLAN) by

    Sambalpur University (SU). Thus it is evident from the data that there is no uniformity in the LIS

    courses offered by the universities as the courses differ in terms of levels, duration and patterns

    followed.

    Students intake in LIS courses

    LIS courses are conducted in India through a variety of modes viz. full time regular, self

    financed and part time giving wider choices to students to choose as per their convenience. The

    number of seats available in these courses is quite different among the universities. Students

    intake capacity for different level of courses has been given in Table 3: Students intake in LIS

    courses. It can be seen from the table 3 that DU, AMU, CU, JDU and OSU have high number

    of seats in both BLIS and MLIS level in comparison to other universities. GJU has the highest

    number of seats in 2 year integrated MLIS programme i. e. 70, out of that 60 are regular and 10

    are self financed seats. BHU and PUC also have high number of seats to offer for the similar

    programme (50 and 45 seats respectively). 40 seats in CU and 30 seats in GGU are available in

    their 5 year integrated MLIS programme. JMI which only conducts 1 year BLIS has 40 seats to

    offer. DAV and SPU have maximum number of seats for MPhil i.e. 20 each. OSU offers 25

    PGDDIM seats.

    Table 3: Students intake in LIS courses

  • 158 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    Note: Numbers in the column for PhD represent the number of students awarded with

    Sr.

    No.

    Name of the University

    BLIS

    1-year

    MLIS

    1-year

    MLIS

    2- years

    MLIS

    2-year

    Integrate

    d

    MLIS

    5-year

    Integr

    ated

    MPhil

    PHD

    R S R S R S R S

    1 University of Delhi (DU), 54 40 12 60

    2 Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) 40

    3 Banaras Hindu University (BHU) 50 19

    4 Aligarh Muslim University

    (AMU)

    60 25 NA

    5 Punjab University (PU) 45 15

    6 Guru Nanak Dev University

    (GNDU)

    30 16 NA

    7 Kurukshetra University (KU) 35 35 10 11

    8 Jammu University (JAU) 30 15 NA

    9 Calcutta University (CU) 55 24 40 15 NA

    10 Jadavpur University (JDU) 60 16 10 NA

    11 Rabindra Bharati University

    (RBU)

    40 10

    12 Sambalpur University (SU) 20 05 20

    13 Utkal University (UU) 24

    14 Gauhati University (GU) 25 15 12

    15 North-Eastern Hill University

    (NEHU)

    25 15

    16 Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya

    (DAV)

    30 30 20

    17 Jiwaji University (JIU) 20 20 20 20 NA

    18 Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya

    (GGU)

    20 30 22

    19 Pt. Ravishankar Shukla

    University (PRSU)

    25 10 10 10 15 10 5

    20 Andhra University (AU) 30 10 NA 61

    21 Osmania University (OSU) 40 10 18 8 4 NA

    22 Gulbarga University (GUU) 25 6 NA 35

    23 Karnataka University (KU) 20 2 NA 78

    24 Calicut University (CAU) 25 2 NA

    25 Kerala University (KEU) *12 20 NA 19

    26 Annamalai University (ANU) NA NA NA NA 20

    27 Madras University (MDU) NA

    28 University of Mumbai (MU) 40 20 5

    29 University of Pune (UP) 30 10 48

    30 Shivaji University (SUK) 40 15 NA 8

    31 Maharaja Sayajirao University

    (MSU)

    30 10 5

    32 Gujarat University (GJU) 60 10

    33 Sardar Patel University(SPU) 30 5 10 *12 *14 20 NA

  • 159 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    PhD degree so far by the universities. R- Regular, S- Self financed, NA- Data not

    available, *part time

    There is no fixed number of seats for PhD programmes in the universities and mostly students

    intake depends on availability of research guides in the department. Since data on number of

    students enrolled for PhD course in various LIS departments could not be authenticated, total

    number of PhD degrees awarded in LIS by the universities so far is shown in Table 3. From the

    table it is evident that KU has produced highest number of PhDs (78) followed by AU (61) and

    DU (60).

    Admission Criteria

    Almost all the universities give admission to the various LIS courses as per merit and

    government rules prescribed for seat reservation and relaxation of marks for reserved category

    students. Regular seats are allotted in both open and reserved categories. Students admitted under

    the regular seat pay an amount of fees ranging approximately from 1000 to 6000 per

    semester where as self financed seats are offered on higher payment of fees that ranges from

    8000 to 35000. In majority of the universities eligibility for seeking admission to entry level 1

    year BLIS as well as for first year of integrated MLIS programme is mostly 50% marks in

    graduation from any discipline and candidates are admitted according to merit. Eligibility for

    seeking admission to 1 year MLIS course is mostly 50% marks in BLIS in all the universities.

    Most universities conduct an entrance test followed by an interview to select candidates for

    BLIS, MLIS and MPhil. PhD entrance test is conducted in most of the universities to test

    research aptitude of the eligible candidates.

    Curricular structure and Course contents

    Structure and syllabus contents of BLIS and MLIS courses are analysed in this section. Analysis

    of MPhil and PhD course syllabus are not discussed in this paper since wide variation is

    observed in their course pattern, duration and contents among universities. These courses are

    mostly followed at the discretion of the individual universities.

    Data about the curricular structure of the BLIS and MLIS courses offered in the universities

    revealed that most of them follow the ongoing trend in LIS education and all the universities

    under study have implemented semester based CBCS for both BLIS and MLIS programmes

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Indian_Rupee_symbol.svghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Indian_Rupee_symbol.svghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Indian_Rupee_symbol.svghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Indian_Rupee_symbol.svg

  • 160 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    during the last decade. There are two semesters in each 1 year BLIS and 1 year MLIS degree

    course. 2 year integrated MLIS course is structured into four semesters.

    All LIS departments have adopted a regular syllabus revision policy. Most of the departments

    review their curriculum with duration of five years to incorporate the latest trend and

    professional needs. For example revisions of syllabi have been carried out in all the universities

    twice or thrice in the last decade and the latest being in 2010-11 in most of the cases. The

    universities have tried to adopt the basic framework for LIS courses and the model curriculum

    prescribed by the Curriculum Development Committee (CDC) of UGC (University Grant

    Commission, 2001)1 to fit their curricular structure duly. Almost all the universities course

    contents have 80 to 90 percent conformity with the model curriculum although there are little

    variations in the nomenclature of the papers or course titles. Course contents of BLIS and MLIS

    programmes are discussed below in detail.

    Course contents at BLIS Level

    An analysis of the course contents of BLIS syllabi of the universities revealed that these are more

    or less similar. However, the nomenclature of the papers/course titles are little different. There

    are six core papers and at least two practical papers included in the syllabus. One year BLIS

    course and the first year of integrated MLIS course (I and II semester) mostly cover the same

    papers. The core course titles are 1) Foundations of library and information science or in some it

    is Foundations of library science and society 2) Knowledge organisation (Theory) or Library

    classification (Theory) 3) Knowledge processing (Theory) or Library cataloguing (Theory) 4)

    Library management 5) Information sources and services 6) Information technology (basic and

    applications), in some it is Computer technology (basic and applications) 7) Knowledge

    organisation (Practical) or Library classification (Practical) 8) Knowledge processing (Practical)

    or Library cataloguing (Practical). A third practical paper on Computer applications has also

    found place in many syllabi to equip the students to handle computerized library routines.

    Electives papers are offered in some universities. These include Library and users, Types of

    library systems, Library development, User studies, Library education, School librarianship,

    Professional ethics and legal issues, etc.

  • 161 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    Document classification as per Colon Classification (6th edition) and Dewy Decimal

    Classification (21st or 22nd edition) and Cataloguing of Monographs and Non-book materials as

    per AACR II are the main practical components. However some universities such as DAV and

    JUG are still using 19th edition of DDC for classification practical. Some other practical

    components found in few syllabi are information sources and services, book reviews, and

    information products. Computer or ICT practical is an important part of few curriculums and

    includes computer basics, application software, library automation software, database creation

    and online searching.

    Although research components such as project work or field survey at BLIS level is hardly

    traced in the syllabus of any of the universities, the 1st semester BLIS students of DU required to

    submit a project report based on literature survey or field survey. This exercise exposes the

    students to develop research aptitude and skill for report writing.

    Internship training in libraries is considered to be an important aspect of LIS education. This

    helps students to learn from real work situation. But this component is not included in BLIS

    course of most of the universities. Only DU, GJU, DAV and a couple of other universities

    provide one month internship training to students in a library.

    Course contents at MLIS Level

    Course contents of one year MLIS and the second year of the integrated MLIS programme are

    similar to a great extent and spread into two semesters. Core subjects are 1) Information &

    Communication 2) Research Methods 3) Information Technology (Theory and Practice) 4)

    Information Processing and Retrieval (or Information Analysis, Repackaging & Consolidation)

    5) Management of Libraries and Information Systems. At least one paper is found to be a

    variation among the syllabi adopted by these universities. In addition to these, one out of the

    papers such as Digital Libraries, Library Automation and Networking, and Information Products

    is included as sixth paper. Many universities like AU, MDU, KAU, PU, OSU, CU and others

    have enriched their syllabi with more ICT components such as digital libraries, multimedia, web

    technology, web page design, content management, network technologies, etc. Elective papers

    based on special library systems or digital libraries are offered in AU and KAU. Although the

    syllabi of most universities contain practical training in library automation software, web

  • 162 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    designing and other ICT components but to what extent that are being materialized is a issue of

    concern. Proper and substantial number of ICT based systems, standard software and trained

    teachers are pre-requisite to provide hands on practice suitably. However in the absence of

    commercial and sophisticated software many LIS departments are making effort to train students

    through open access software like KOHA or NewGen Lib. Training through SOUL 2.0 is a good

    option which is mainly available to Indian universities at subsidized rate.

    Dissertation/project work component is an integral part of MLIS curricula in all the universities

    to orient students in research methodology and report writing. A difference in allotment of marks

    ranging from 100 to 300 marks is observed in this component. Variations in distribution of marks

    in theory and practice papers are also observed among the universities. Practical papers are given

    weight-age ranging from 20 percent to 40 percent of total marks. This variation is not advisable

    as per the suggestions of CDC which suggests LIS curriculum should have more practical

    orientation.

    Teaching Methods

    Imparting of professional knowledge and skills to prospective librarians require deliverance

    through a variety of teaching methods ranging from conventional class room teaching to hi-tech

    assisted learning. In all the sample universities it is observed that mainly the customary lecture

    method dominates the teaching learning process. Theoretical discussion, practical sessions, self

    study, hands on practice, demonstrations, assignments, seminar presentation, project works,

    study tours, field visits and surveys, guest lectures, etc. are the other modes of teaching. But

    owing to lack of infrastructural facilities these methods might not be always implemented in true

    spirit. However, on a positive note it can be mentioned here that over the years majority of LIS

    departments have upgraded themselves and introduced latest tools for both theory and practice

    sessions. The LIS departments also encourage the students to use more of e-learning resources.

    Medium of instruction for imparting LIS courses among the Indian universities is mainly English

    except few who conduct the courses in their respective regional languages.

  • 163 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    Faculty Provision of quality education depends greatly on both: quality of teachers and their quantity

    available to impart knowledge and professional skills to the students. To know how far the

    universities of India have achieved this objective, we have to look at the faculty status in the

    universities and the data presents a very depressing picture. Although India has witnessed 100

    years of LIS education, it is very unfortunate to note here that it has not got the needed boost.

    There is huge human resource crunch one can see in the LIS departments as most of them are

    pathetically operating with either one or two full-time teachers (Varalakshmi, 2010)2. It is

    amazing to see many, even if they do not have a single position for permanent teachers, are

    running all types of LIS courses ranging from BLIS and MLIS to PhD simultaneously

    (Rajyalakshmi, 2001)3. The number of faculties currently available (at the time of data collection

    for this study) in the LIS departments of the sample universities is provided in Table 4.

    Table 4: Faculty Status in the LIS Departments

    Sr.

    No.

    Name of the University

    Current Faculty Position in the Department Total

    no. of

    faculty

    at

    present

    Professor Associate

    Professor

    Assistant

    Professor

    Other

    full time

    staff

    1 University of Delhi (DU), 1 3 4 8

    2 Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) - - - -

    3 Banaras Hindu University (BHU) 1 1 3 5

    4 Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) 1 4 2 7

    5 Punjab University (PU) 1 1 1 3

    6 Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) 2 - 1 3

    7 Kurukshetra University (KU) 1 2 4 7

    8 Jammu University (JAU) 2 - 2 4

    9 Calcutta University (CU) 3 2 2 7

    10 Jadavpur University (JDU) 1 5 1 7

    11 Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) 1 1 1 3

    12 Sambalpur University (SU) - - 3 3

    13 Utkal University (UU) 1 2 1 1 6

    14 Gauhati University (GU) 2 1 1 4

    15 North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) 1 2 4 7

    16 Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya (DAV) - - - -

    17 Jiwaji University (JIU) 2 1 - 3

    18 Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya (GGU) - 1 - 1 2

    19 Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University (PRSU) - 1 2 3

    20 Andhra University (AU) 4 1 - 5

  • 164 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    21 Osmania University (OSU) 2 - 2 4

    22 Gulbarga University (GUU) 4 1 - 5

    23 Karnataka University (KU) 2 1 2 5

    24 Calicut University (CAU) - 1 1 5

    25 Kerala University (KEU) - 2 2 5

    26 Annamalai University (ANU) 3 1 2 6

    27 Madras University (MDU) 1 - 1 2

    28 University of Mumbai (MU) 1 - 2 3

    29 University of Pune (UP) 1 3 - 4

    30 Shivaji University (SUK) - - - -

    31 Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) - 1 - 2 3

    32 Gujarat University (GJU) - - 1 1

    33 Sardar Patel University(SPU) 1 - 1 2

    Table 4 shows only that staff who is currently working in the LIS departments as permanent staff

    and full time temporary or contractual staff. The Table does not indicate either the total number

    of sanctioned permanent positions available or lying vacant there. Further guest teachers/part

    time/visiting faculties are not included as their services are irregular. The faculties which are

    shown in table 4 fall into four categories: professor, associate professor, assistant professor and

    other full time staff. From the table it can be seen that there is severe inadequacies of staff

    almost in every LIS department. While the universities of the North, North East and Eastern

    region (Panigrahi, 2010)4 as well as that of Southern region are little better off in this respect,

    majority of the LIS departments in India especially in Central and Western region are critically

    understaffed. DU at present has the highest number of faculties (8) and GJU has the least (1).

    AU and GUU have maximum number of professors (4 each). Since JMI and DAV do not have

    full-fledged LIS department teaching is mainly looked after by their respective university library

    staff. Further probe revealed that at least half of the position of the sanctioned faculty in almost

    all the universities is lying vacant since many years. In the absence of regular staff mostly

    teaching is supplemented by guest teachers/part time/visiting faculties in majority of the

    universities and in some cases the show is totally run by utilizing the services of these teachers.

    Research Contribution

    Research activities being a core objective of any university in advancing knowledge, thus mostly

    pursued in all universities as an integral part of academic work. Research in library science in

    India was started in 1949 under the guidance of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan in Delhi University (DU)

  • 165 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    and the first PhD. was awarded to Krishna Rao in 1957. From 1960 onwards many universities

    started their MPhil and PhD programmes. At present most of the universities of India have

    introduced research components in LIS and these are implemented through a variety of ways:

    ranging from elementary MLIS and MPhil dissertation/ project work to high level PhD

    programmes. Majority of the universities covered under this study i. e. 18 have MPhil and 27

    have PhD programmes (See Table 2). Research topics undertaken in these programmes include

    both traditional and modern aspects such as development of libraries, bibliometric studies,

    information need, measurement of effectiveness of library and its services job satisfaction,

    library automation, use of library management software, digital libraries, consortia, web

    designing, electronic recourses, etc.

    Further individual as well as team research by faculties; self supported researches; and projects

    sponsored by agencies like UGC, ICSSR, DST, MHRD, DRTC, RRLF and various library

    associations and organizations greatly contribute to enrich LIS. University Grant Commission,

    the major funding agency for the government universities in India, is providing the needed boost

    for academic research by modernizing their infrastructural facilities in terms of computer labs,

    online libraries, advanced knowledge resources with an increasing number of e-journal resources

    through its INFO-Net programme. The LIS department of MDU has got the credit of becoming

    the first department in the country to be awarded with Special Assistance Programme (SAP)

    status since 1996 and now UGC-SAP-DRS III for the period 2007-2012. Digital libraries and E-

    publishing are the thrust areas of research. The Department conducts seminars/workshops for LIS

    professionals and students annually under SAP. SUs LIS department was inducted under DRS-SAP

    of UGC during 2002-07 and during last five years (2007-2012) 28 research papers are published

    by the faculty members. Faculties at KEU are carrying out various research projects financed by

    ICSSR, UGC and INSDOC. UGC has also sanctioned SAP to the LIS department of KUD to

    carry out research in thrust areas like application of scientometrics and infometrics.

    Infrastructural facilities

    Effective execution of LIS courses in modern days require good and sufficient infrastructural

    facilities in terms of building space, computer lab, teaching tools, departmental library and

    others. Data about this important aspect reveals that most of the LIS departments, baring a few

    do not have separate departmental building of their own and housed in their respective university

  • 166 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    library building. This kind of trend hampers LIS prospective to grow as a discipline at par with

    others within the university. LIS education is a professional course and mostly based on practice.

    So, a variety of special tools should be used to develop professional skills and competencies.

    These include both traditional as well as technological tools. All the LIS departments covered

    under this study have substantial number of traditional teaching tools for practice namely Dewey

    decimal classification 19th and the latest 22nd edition; Colon classification, 6th edition; and

    AACR2 revised edition (1988), and Sears list of Subjects Headings and in some cases Classified

    Catalogue Code, 5th edition also.

    Most of LIS departments have now developed a computer lab with computers ranging from a

    meager 5 to a good 80 in number to teach the practical IT components to students. Many have

    LCD projector, laptops, interactive boards, wall mount projector, overhead projector, automatic

    slide projector, television, VCR, printers, scanners, etc. to assist in teaching learning process.

    Internet connectivity in computer lab and for faculty members is available in many departments.

    But still many for example GU and GJU are deprived of this facility and have to depend on the

    computer facilities of the central library of the university. SOUL 2.0, CDS/ISIS, KOHA, Dspace,

    Library manager and NewGen Lib software are mainly used for database creation and for online

    searching.

    Few LIS departments have their own departmental library with a collection of books ranging

    from 200 to 20000 and also subscribe few journals. DU and BHU have fully computerized

    departmental library supported by online catalogue. DU, BHU, AU, PUCH and JAU have

    placement cell to assist students in securing jobs in both public and private sectors.

    Major Observations

    On the basis of above analysis of perspectives of LIS education and challenges faced by the

    universities of India in conducting LIS courses the following observations have been emerged:

    Over the last 100 years of its evolution LIS education has been graduated from a mere low

    level diploma or certificate library course meant to train people to handle library routines to

    higher level advanced programmes to breed qualified professionals to cope up the

    challenges of libraries and information centres in growing technological environment.

    LIS education is imparted mainly through four levels of courses. BLIS and MLIS are the

    basic degree courses and MPhil and PhD are research oriented courses in LIS. Curricular

    structure of the basic LIS courses mostly followed two patterns: one year each for BLIS and

  • 167 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    MLIS course; and two year integrated MLIS (BLIS+MLIS). This variation is observed to

    suit the demand and employability of students at various levels of jobs.

    There are regular as well as self financed courses offered at various levels.

    Curricular structure of the LIS courses is designed as per the guidelines of CDC

    recommendations. Almost all the universities have made efforts to balance the traditional

    and technological components in their syllabi. Although there is some variations observed in

    course contents and differed methodology followed to impart LIS education, these

    universities have maintained some level of uniformity and standard to achieve the objectives

    of LIS curriculum.

    LIS syllabus is updated and balanced in core subjects; however practical components are

    still not adequate. It is merely 20 to 40 percent in comparison to theory paper.

    Lack of sufficient faculties is a major setback for LIS education in India. Even after half a

    century of their establishment most LIS departments are deprived of a minimum staff and

    are struggling hard to conduct the courses.

    Mainly research products in LIS are in the form of dissertations/theses produced for getting

    degrees in M.Phil and doctoral studies. Further because of scarcity of research guides

    quality of research suffers. Research contribution from teachers of few universities is very

    meager as they are always loaded with heavy academic work. However the LIS departments

    which are better off in terms of faculties and are getting support from sponsoring agencies

    are making mark in LIS research.

    Analysis of infrastructural facilities available in the universities reveals that majority LIS

    departments do not have a separate building or own a space and operate from the central

    library of the universities. Being located in the library the LIS departments constantly face

    identity crisis and many times do not get treated equally at par with other teaching

    departments of the university.

    Although LIS departments claim to have both traditional and IT tools to equip students with

    modern library practices, its sufficiency and usefulness cannot be assured in terms of its

    ratio to students intake; extent of use; proper skill to train and working condition of

    computers and other equipments.

    Suggestions

  • 168 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    The objective of LIS education is to make students learn subject knowledge and train them in

    practical skill for better information handling. Achievement of this objective depends upon the

    quality of teaching-learning process prevalent in the universities. On the basis of this current

    study the following suggestions are made to improve LIS education in India:

    There should be uniformity in LIS courses as there are variations in terms of levels, pattern,

    and nomenclature of these courses. There should be an accreditation council for LIS

    education just in the line of MCI (Medical council of India) or AICTE (All India Council of

    Technical Education) to uphold quality and standard in LIS courses.

    More practical components in 50: 50 percent ratios to develop professional skill and

    competencies are recommended in the syllabus.

    Although LIS curriculum is balanced in terms of conventional and modern technological

    skill it lacks some crucial issues like developing soft skill and professional ethics among the

    aspiring librarians. These components should be included in the syllabus to equip them to

    face the challenges of multifaceted information environment of today.

    LIS course should also include internship component. Internship training in some library is a

    good option to expose students in real life situation and helps to develop know-how at an

    early stage.

    A good number of prospective LIS professionals are produced every year. Most LIS

    departments also claim cent percent placement of the students. However to rationalize this

    aspect and to bring a balance between manpower production and manpower need a

    systematic study is essential.

    Provision of sufficient number of qualified permanent faculties is the most important

    requisite to achieve quality in LIS education. Thus it is an obligation before the authorities

    that this needs to be taken care of urgently.

    The LIS departments should get their due in terms of separate building and other

    infrastructures like the other teaching departments of the universities. This will ensure

    physical growth of the department and increase students intake.

  • 169 International Research: Journal of Library & Information Science | Vol.4 No.1, Mar. 2014

    Conclusion

    LIS education in India is a century old development and is instrumental in meeting the demand

    for competent LIS professionals since long. Now the time has come to revamp the LIS education

    to make it more vibrant and multifarious so that the future LIS professionals would have

    expertise to handle and deliver information in a better way. Universities must adopt more ICT

    based hands-on training and must focus on core subjects; research orientation and writing; soft

    skill development; etc. to ensure professionalization of LIS courses in true sense. However, it is

    found from this study that LIS departments of many universities are not receiving the needed

    support and challenged with severe staff shortage, inadequate infrastructure and building

    problems. Deficiency in teaching staff is reflected in teaching and overall research contribution.

    Thus it is high time now to seek support from financing and regulatory authorities like UGC as

    well as from professional associations to look into the matter.

    References

    1. University Grant Commission (2001), UGC model curriculum: Library and information

    science, available at: www.ugc.ac.in (accessed 11 October, 2012).

    2. Varalakshmi, R.S.R. (2010), Library and information science education in South India:

    Perspective and challenges, DESIDOC journal of Library and Information Technology,

    Vol.30 No.5, pp. 19-31.

    3. Rajyalakshmi, D. (2001), LIS schools: Sustaining with IT components in LIS courses,

    in Changing dimensions of LIS education, proceedings of the 18th national seminar of

    IATLIS in Vishakhapatnam, October 2001, IATLIS, Hyderabad, pp.124-131.

    4. Panigrahi, P. (2010), Library and information science education in East and North-East

    India: Retrospect and prospects, DESIDOC journal of Library and Information

    Technology, Vol.30 No.5, pp.32-47.

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