Thursday, 31 January 2013
Information Literacy in Africa
The Centre of Excellence for Sustainability in Africa (CESSAF) is a new PhD facility in Luanda, Angola. It's a partnership between universities in Angola, Brazil and the UK, alongside the Planet Earth Institute and the private sector. The UK University (and awarding body) is Newcastle and we are currently hosting four senior staff from CESSAF as they undergo a variety of leadership, mamangement and academic practice courses. I was delighted to be asked to contribute to their programme and have spent two fascinating afternoons so far discussing the Researcher Development Framework, the Info Lit lens, the 7Pillars model and a range of issues surrounding good academic conduct as it relates to IL. Tina, Cristina, Emidio and Lopes are tasked with creating a strategic plan for their new research centre and for developing a research training programme for up to 100 researchers from sub-Saharan Africa over the next 10 years. I hope that I have convinced them of the centrality of information literacy to research and that this groundbreaking project will also afford an opportunity to raise the profile of information literacy in Africa. It's so important to ensure that attitudes and behaviours to information are developed alongside skills. There are so many different aspects to consider - cultural differences in approaches to ethical issues such as plagiarism, skills development around searching, managing, evaluatingand disseminating information, practical considerations of access to technology. I hope I'll be able to keep in touch with the group and see how the project develops.