Pak-LIS News
August 2002, Vol. 2, No.8




Information Technology & Libraries

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20,000 QAU Library Books Missing
Sweaty Feet Dutchman Foots Bill for Causing Stink in the Library
NYC Librarians Reject 'Prim' Dress Code

Personal Announcements




Guest Editorial

Information Technology & Libraries

Dr. Ghaniul Akram Sabzwari, President, Library Promotion Bureau, Karachi

There is a lot of talking all over about the Information Technology. No doubt the advent of computers have brought great revolution in all fields of human life. Although we started very late yet since 1996 IT industry is taking strong ground in the country . "Information Technology has assumed unprecedented importance in the global economic arena." In Pakistan our government has accorded high priority to IT industry. IT and Telecommunication Division of Ministry of Science and Technology has developed "IT Policy and Action Plan. "They explained salient features of the policy in their brochure of 181!1 August 2000 . They have described following areas of concentration and development: 1) Human Resources; 2) Infrastructure; 3) Software Industry; 4) Hardware Industry; 5) Internet growth and Free Access; 6) Incentives to develop and promote IT industry; 7) IT Promotion and Awareness; 8) IT usage; 9) Legislation; and 10) Regulations.

The IT Policy and Action Plan is very attractive and charming for country's future development. If it is executed as planned and implemented as designed our country will definitely achieve desired goals. Since IT Policy and Action Plan is made open to public it is imperative that everybody should express his/her views and comments.

In the brochure enough emphasis is given on improving the government departments, commerce, industry etc. Under Human Resources Development IT education program is mentioned. It says IT Education includes degree programs, while IT training comprises short courses that provide focused hands-on skills in specific IT areas where manpower is urgently needed. Such training could be provided to fresh graduates as well as unemployed youth." (

By going through the IT Policy and Plan it seems our genius and intelligent planners intend t&-develop IT trained personnel in haste. They are right to some extent but for long term planning and sustained fruitful results they should also pay due attention on academic institutions. School is the base of education. Our schools are horribly in miserable state. For future consistent and ever growing development we should introduce use of Computers and IT awareness right from school level.
There are about:
Primary Schools 150,963
Middle Schools 14,595
High Schools 9,595*

in the country . If government make a crash program and start computer training at least from Middle School level we can get computer-familiarized youth in bulk. They can contribute a lot at college, University and public institutions.

Similarly there are:
Arts and Science Colleges 798
Professional Colleges 161
Universities 43*
in the country . At colleges and Universities students should be provided education and training in IT technology. If a Five-Year Plan is chalked out for computer use, IT training and awareness right from school level to University thousands of trained youth will be available to meet the challenges of country's development.

We would also like to draw attention of our planners towards the miserable condition of libraries at school, college and university level. Our education experts do not consider any role of library in education and research. At school libraries are almost non-existent. At college these are just junk of old and outdated books and journals. At universities also situation is not very satisfactory. Libraries in advanced countries are regarded hearts of the academic institution. They regularly pump fresh and Current literature to students and faculty members. One may agree or not high class and quality research cannot be done without well-equipped libraries. We are sorry to say that researches in our country are done on table without visiting libraries. Nowadays some phony intellectuals think that they can do research with the help of Internet without going to libraries. It is a fake idea. Although one can get lot of information on Internet yet there are still certain limitations due to which Libraries cannot be ignored.

Every individual cannot purchase computer. If libraries are equipped with computers, students and faculty members can create wonders. Economic Review (Jan Feb. 2002) quoted, "In USA 48 per cent people have Internet access in their homes. The 2 per cent of Indian population avail of this opportunity, whereas, in Pakistan only O.12 per cent of population have access to the internet in their homes. " Keeping this situation in view our IT planners should pay due attention to introduce use of computers and IT awareness right from school to university level. They should make libraries centers of computer learning and IT training. By ignoring libraries we cannot achieve our desired goals of high and quality research.

In February 2002 University Grants Commission's Karachi office organized a meeting to revise Library and Information curriculum at B.A. and M.A. level. It was inaugurated by the Karachi Region's Director General, Dr. Iqbal A. Panhwar and presided by the Chairperson, Prof. Dr. Nasim Fatima, Department of Library and Information Science, University of Karachi. Chairpersons of LIS departments of Universities of Pakistan and some prominent librarians participated in the meeting. The committee evaluated course taught at B.A. and M.A. level. They proposed certain innovations.

The curriculum Committee proposed certain additions and changes in the courses. The most striking addition was the introduction of automation, computerization and information technology. At B.A. level besides other papers, "Computer in Libraries" was suggested as 5th part of the course.

Similarly at M.A. Previous in Part-I teaching of Information Technology, Computers components, Hardware, Software, Information storage, retrieval and dissemination, Online searching, Telecommunication, etc. were emphasized. At M.A. Final also advanced courses were proposed to familiarize students with the latest and more advanced concepts of IT, management of information, communication technology, etc. In specialized courses Management of Information Systems (MIS) is also introduced. It will provide clear understanding of management techniques, decision making, automation, system design, implementation and maintenance, etc.

It is a healthy sign that UGC has persuaded LIS departments in the country to renovate their curriculum and provide latest teaching facilities to students to manage and organize libraries to meet the challenges of the time. It is hoped that now libraries will be fully aware of the latest information technologies and will serve administrators, planners, readers, researchers, etc. in their pursuits of advancement and development.

In view of above developments we are sure to meet a bright future if our Ministry of Science and Technology and Universities continued and maintained the pace of development and growth on modern scientific scenario.

*Educational Guide of Pakistan: Millennium ed. (2000-2001)[Contents]

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