Teaching and learning of information literacy in some selected institutions of higher learning in KwaZulu-Natal and Malawi

  • George Chipeta Mzuzu University
  • Daisy Jacobs University of Zululand
  • Janneke Mostert University of Zululand
Keywords: Information literacy, information need, lifelong learning, library orientation, computer skills, tertiary institutions, technology, information sources


Information literacy (IL) is a set of abilities that enable individuals to recognise when information is needed and to subsequently locate, evaluate, and utilise the required information. It enables people to interpret and make informed judgments as users of information sources, and also to become producers of information in their own right and thereby more active participants in society. Information literacy is the basis of lifelong learning. It is common across all disciplines, all learning environments, and all levels of education. This study, which was conducted among academic and library staff and students at the University of Zululand (Unizul) and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in KwaZulu-Natal (SA) and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) in Malawi, reports on the offering and teaching of IL in these institutions of higher learning. The findings reveal that IL is offered and taught as a module at Unizul and as a course at Mzuni by their respective Departments of Library and Information Science, though not across all the faculties. At DUT, IL is only offered and taught by the library during the Library Orientation programme, campus wide. Problems encountered in the teaching and learning of IL include inadequate time, lack of computer skills, inadequate venues and equipment for teaching and students' practicals, and lack of cooperation. The study recommends that the module or course of IL should be incorporated into the university curricula of all three institutions, and the DUT should introduce a dedicated module or course in information literacy and embed it into the students' course materials. The three universities should also advertise to academic staff, students and decision makers the importance of having modules or courses in IL.
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