The East African School of Library and Information Sciences (EASLIS) at Makerere University in Uganda recently hosted a workshop on the theme of “Digitalising the Curriculum: Towards an Education Programme for Digital Information Science in East Africa”.
EASLIS is a regional leader in library, archive and information studies, with a strong research base and involvement in a range of international collaborative projects. However, the increasingly important digital aspects of education in information studies are as yet relatively underdeveloped in the region, and have not risen to their full potential. In addition, education in these fields is important not only for institutions traditionally involved in the management of information (e.g. libraries and archives); it is also a priority for developing the digital economy, a factor that is recognised in the development plans of Uganda and other countries.
The workshop aimed to address this gap by stimulating the development of higher education programmes for the digital aspects of information studies – digital archives, digital curation, digital asset management, and digital studies more generally. While taking into account curricula from elsewhere, the overall objective was to develop programmes and curricula that are adapted to local needs and contexts, rather than being imported wholesale from elsewhere. The objectives of the workshop were thus: to identify requirements for integrating digital aspects of information science into higher education curricula in Uganda and more broadly in East Africa, taking into account the input of local stakeholders and the current situation of LIS education in the region; to identify strategies for implementing such a curriculum; and to identify content for a corresponding HE programme in the field.
The workshop ran from 7th to 9th October 2019, and it attracted around 40 participants from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria, including many academics and practitioners in the field, as well as representatives from industry, and several doctoral students.
PARTHENOS was represented at the workshop by Mark Hedges (King’s College London – KCL), who also co-organised the workshop. Mark gave a talk about the PARTHENOS Training Suite, which provides access to open source materials designed to ‘train the trainer’, meaning that the materials included in each tutorial are scaffolded so that students, teachers and practitioners can read, listen to and view content appropriate to their level of expertise and enhance their contributions to research and projects. He also presented on a number of relevant topics that arose during the PARTHENOS Foresight Study, including crowdsourcing and public engagement, computational archival science, and digital asset management. Indeed, the need both for enhanced curriculum development and broader international cooperation were also themes that came out of the Foresight Study, and the event was an excellent opportunity for further developing PARTHENOS’ international network.