First level library and/or information science qualifications at South African universities and technikons: a comparative study of curricula

J. Raju


The article focuses on some of the findings from a comparative study of first level library and/or information science
qualifications offered at South African universities and technikons. A survey was used through self-administered
questionnaires to solicit the views of employers, past students and educators in the LIS field regarding the qualifications
and their relevance to the LIS services work environment. The study confirms that the university Post-graduate Diploma in
Library and/or Information Science and the B.Bibl. (or equivalent four-year university degree) are established professional
LIS qualifications in South Africa. While the technikon NO: LIS is generally viewed as a paraprofessional qualification, LIS
services employers are not using this qualification in its paraprofessional context. The technikon B.Tech. (LIS) cannot be
viewed as a professional LIS qualification as it lacks general education and furthermore, it is a qualification in the
hierarchy of paraprofessional LIS qualifications that runs parallel to the professional LIS career path. The study suggests
that the professional body, educators, employers and graduates and diplomates in the LIS field in South Africa have
specific roles to play in ensuring understanding that LIS professionalism and paraprofessionalism are alternative career
paths, each with their own career progressions and with valuable roles to play in LIS services.


Internet; Web; electronic surveys, reference librarians, academic libraries

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