Review and Revision of Library and Information Science Curriculum in a South African University and the Usage of Follow-Up Study and Advertisement Scanning Methods
Two methods for curriculum review and revision are used to review and revise the Library and Information (LIS) curriculum at the University of Zululand, South Africa. Firstly, as an exercise in product analysis, a case study of the graduates of the University of Zululand between 1996 and 1999 was conducted. Graduates were traced to their current places of employment and interviewed together with their employers in order to determine whether the knowledge, skills and attitudes gained during training were adequate for their current job requirements. Secondly, a market-type analysis was conducted by scanning job advertisements in the field of library and information science appearing in a popular national weekly newspaper over a period of three years. Details regarding date and location of advertisement, type of employer, job details and job specifications and requirements in terms of qualifications, experience, knowledge, skills and attitudes were captured from this source and analysed. Whereas the aforementioned two methods still enjoy popularity, arguably, they alone do not necessarily provide an accurate picture of the demand and supply matrix that can enhance effective and beneficial LIS education for service and employability of graduates. Evidently, the public sector and in particular the public and academic libraries, dominate this specific segment of the employment market in South Africa. Sound education in the fields of management, information and communication technologies, information searching, analysis and synthesis, as well as the ability to perform practical work is regarded as essential. The use of the aforementioned two methods exploits techniques which play a crucial verification role and which effectively supplement other methods such as reviewing existing curriculum and literature, consulting with colleagues and observing national and international trends as well as the focus-group method for academic programme development. Other intervening variables in the study are discussed. The paper addresses issues that can benefit theoretical and methodological issues in library and information science education and curriculum development.