IASL Newsletter, December 2000: Article: Information Literacy in South Africa This article is by Sandy Zinn. It was published in the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL), IASL Newsletter December 2000.
From the site:
This article is the result of expressions of interest in the paper I presented at the IASL conference in August 2000 in Sweden. I will elaborate on the Information Literacy/ICT projects mentioned in my conference paper. Firstly, I will briefly describe the current situation of education in South Africa. I will then contextualize the information literacy debate within the framework of educator development and training. A short history of information literacy in South Africa follows with a final wrap-up examining 3 projects which re-inforce information literacy in our education.
Understanding Education in South Africa
Since 1994 our country as a whole has been undergoing radical social, political, economic and cultural changes. Within education itself systemic change has taken place on the curriculum front, employment front and structural front. An outcomes-based system of education was introduced which is drastically different from education of the Apartheid past. One single Department of National Education replaced the 19 or so different education departments of the Apartheid era. The rationalization of the civil service drained the teaching core of thousands of valuable, experienced teachers (in the Western Cape 8000). Thus, in our attempts to transform the inequities of the past and introduce enriched conceptions of education, instability has unfortunately occurred. Not withstanding all these changes we have now reached the stage where key educational policies are in place and the implementation of these policies is our next step.
Improving the Quality of Teacher Training
There is a huge drive at the moment to improve the quality of teaching and learning in South Africa. Inservice teacher development and support was identified as a key area which needed improvement by the Curriculum Review Report (May 2000). Both the Norms and Standards for Educators gazetted in February 2000 and the Framework for Educator Development and Support draft document of August 2000 inform the inservice as well as the preservice training of teachers.