Information literacy unlocks growth

10 January 2008

The Centre for Information Literacy hosted the sixth in a global series of 11 UNESCO Information Literacy Workshops from 4 to 6 October. Staff members Karin de Jager, Peter Underwood and Mary Nassimbeni joined colleague Albert Boekhorst of the University of Amsterdam to deliver the three-day workshop.

UNESCO strongly advocates the building of knowledge societies where the power of information and communication helps people access the knowledge they need to improve their daily lives and achieve their full potential. In this context, information literacy has become key as a means to empower people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals.

In September 2007, the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme (IFAP) decided to fund a global scale-up project on information literacy. The IFAP agreed on a series of regional workshops to allow information-literacy experts to instruct 25- 50 trainer-participants at each workshop in the best available pedagogies for teaching information literacy.

The Centre for Information Literacy was invited to host the workshop for sub- Saharan Africa. Among other host institutions are Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Punjabi University, Wuhan University, University of Beijing, and Universiti Teknologi Mara in Kuala Lumpur.

The purpose of the UCT workshop was to assist librarians design their own training programmes based on an appropriate conceptualisation of information literacy for their environment, incorporating sound principles of curriculum design, assessment, monitoring and evaluation.

Among the 27 participants from Brazil and 12 African countries (including South Africa) was a cohort of 10 university librarians whose attendance was sponsored by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), an NGO based in Oxford, whose generous support for this workshop was gratefully received by the Centre for Information Literacy and UNESCO.

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