UAE Librarianship Education - Feasibility Study 2013

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Information about UAE Librarianship Education - Feasibility Study 2013

Published on February 5, 2014

Author: DrJanetMartin



Report of an extensive feasibility study conducted into the development of a librarianship program in Zayed University, UAE.

Feasibility study: Graduate Programs in INFORMATION MANAGEMENT at Zayed University, UAE. Dr. Janet Martin Back to School Forum - ABCs of MLIS Qualifications: A Global Perspective January, 2014.

Zayed University Feasibility Study, 2013. Office of Graduate Studies undertook a consultancy to investigate the feasibility of establishing a Graduate Certificate or Masters level library and information studies qualification at ZU.

Impetus for establishing LIS in the UAE 1. Building a knowledge economy. For example: UAE Vision 2021 Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 UAE in the Global Knowledge Economy Arab Knowledge Report 2010/11 2. Historical Impetus. Several attempts to initiate MLIS programs at ZU in 2009/10.

Impetus for establishing LIS in the UAE 3. Development of research capacity within the UAE. For example: National Research Foundation 4. National recommendations or mandates for establishing information services. For example: Federal Law No. (7) for 2008 re NCDR CAA licensing for higher education KHDA and ADEC handbooks and strategic plans 5. Emiratisation of the UAE workforce* For example: Emiratisation Plan in Federal Government Sector & Mechanism for Coordination and Followup (2010-2013)

Impetus for establishing LIS in the UAE 6. Paucity of options for obtaining professional qualifications in information management in the UAE in most locations. This is not an available career path for most Emiratis, despite the push for Emiratisation in this field (as well as in other vocations). 7. International imperative for non-traditional LIS professionals. Wide recognition of need for technological, flexible and transferrable skills.

Data Collection Quantitative data collection included: Completed survey by 699 potential students in the UAE. Student surveys were distributed through as many library and information services and networks as possible (after ethical clearance), though notable exceptions were HCT and UAEU, despite great effort to include them. Separate completed survey by 28 potential employers in the UAE and Qatar. Employer responses were largely from higher education, school and archival services. HCT and UAEU were included here. Qualitative data collection: 30 personal interviews with potential employers in the UAE. Several potential employers also sent in lengthy personal viewpoints on this topic via email

Data Analysis – Employers Almost without exception, there was strong support within the library community for the development of an internationally recognized, good quality LIS program at ZU.

Data Analysis – Employers “The lack of an accredited MLS program in the UAE is a real problem as we would like to recruit well-trained, well-educated Emiratis for library positions.”

Data Analysis – Employers “There is a strong need for bilingual Arabic/English speakers and library professionals who can catalog Arabic books.”

Data Analysis – Employers Reservations were expressed by some potential employers about: • Desire of Emirati students to work in libraries/archives • Understanding within the UAE about the value of libraries/archives

Data Analysis – Employers “The librarianship profession is not well understood, even within the organization.” “Due to perceived low pay, too long working hours, and lack of child care facilities, [Emirati] staff resigned in favor of better paying government jobs.”

Data Analysis – Employers “Libraries in government schools are often locked, poorly resourced, and lucky to have any staff at all. Staff are often failed teachers… There is usually no teaching, and no computers or internet in these libraries. They are just a babysitting service when used at all.”

Data Analysis – Students SAMPLE of 699 potential students 86% Emirati 54% lived closer to Abu Dhabi than Dubai 45% “interested” or “very interested” in undertaking further studies in LIS 50% of these interested in Masters level 66% of these would begin within 2 years

Data Analysis – Students SUMMARY? Over 1,000 Emirati students per year are potential candidates for graduate studies in the information management field in the UAE. Most interested in Masters level. Most interested in higher education, archives, government or company employment.

Zayed University Implementation Reservations 1. “Location” of the program within the academic structure 2. Need to determine a US partner program 3. Lack of understanding of LIS value within university management, and by students 4. Need to have a financially viable program – are there “guaranteed” cohorts/ are Emirati students willing to work in this profession?

Issues confronting MLIS education in the UAE at present? 1. Size of LIS population in the UAE Compare the estimated number of LIS workers and libraries in several developed countries, to a very rough estimate in the UAE (based on this feasibility study research):

Issues confronting MLIS education in the UAE at present? 2. Academic and Professional accreditation IFLA Conference 2000, CIRT researchers reported on their quest for establishing international LIS education standards. “No worldwide approved standards for LIS education, and no formalized methods for determining the equivalency of LIS qualifications between different countries.“

Issues confronting MLIS education in the UAE at present? 2. Academic and Professional accreditation Academic accreditation: there was great flexibility and interpretation involved in deciding on academic accreditation of particular courses. Definitions of what makes good practice in LIS education vary greatly. There was no single way to identify school or program excellence. Professional accreditation: In many countries LIS qualifications were academically accredited, but not professionally accredited (that is, accredited by a professional library or information association within that country).

Issues confronting MLIS education in the UAE at present? 3. Working together Competition divides Ideas for the future? Communication Independent Stakeholders Professional Association Community of Practice ….?

Issues confronting MLIS education in the UAE at present? 4. Need for more research! What is needed? How can it be funded? Who can do it? How can results reach the right ears? …..

References – LIS in the UAE Dr. Janet Martin January 2014. Abu Dhabi Education Council. (2009). Strategic Plan. Retrieved 29 May, 2013, from American Library Association. (2014). Standards, process, policies and procedures (AP3). from Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011. (2010). Dubai, UAE: Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) and The United Nations Development Programme / Regional Bureau for Arab States (UNDP/RBAS). Commission for Academic Accreditation. (2011). Standards for licensure and accreditation, 2011 (pp. 1-63). Abu Dhabi, UAE: Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Commission for Academic Accreditation. (2012). Extracts from the Qualifications Framework Emirates Handbook: Emirates handbook and implementation of QFEmirates in higher education. Abu Dhabi, UAE: Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Comparative international statistics for LIS organizations and workers from: INCITE 34 (5), May 2013, p.32 Dalton, P., & Levinson, K. (2000). An investigation of LIS qualifications throughout the world. Paper presented at the 66th IFLA Council and General Conference, Jerusalem, Israel. Emirates Competitiveness Council. (2011). The UAE in the global knowledge economy: Fast-forwarding the nation Policy in Action (Vol. 1, pp. 1-12). Dubai, UAE. Federal Authority for Government Human Resources. (2011). Emiratization plan in Federal Government sector & mechanism for coordination and follow-up (2010-2013) (pp. 1-62). Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources. Gerolimos, M. (2009). Skills developed through library and information science education. Library Review, 58(7), 527-540. doi: 10.1108/00242530910978217

References – LIS in the UAE Dr. Janet Martin January 2014. Government of Abu Dhabi. (2008). Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 (pp. 1-146). Abu Dhabi: Executive Council of the UAE. Knowledge and Human Development Authority. (2012). Inspection handbook 2012-13: Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (pp. 186). Dubai, UAE: Government of Dubai. Martin, J. (2013) Technology, education and Arab youth in the 21 st century: A study of the UAE. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia). Retrieved from Martin, J. (2013) Feasibility study: The development of Graduate Programs in Information Management at Zayed University, UAE. Unpublished Report, Zayed University, UAE. Retrieved from National Center for Documentation and Research. (2008). Federal Law No. ( 7 ) for 2008 On National Center for Documentation and Research Abu Dhabi, UAE: Ministry of Presidential Affairs, UAE. National Research Foundation. (2008). NRF at a glance. Retrieved May 29, 2013, from Partridge, H., Hanisch, J., Hughes, H., Henninger, M., Carroll, M., Combes, B., . . . Yates, C. (2011). Re-conceptualising and repositioning Australian library and information science education for the 21st century (pp. 161). Sydney: Australian Learning & Teaching Council. Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. (2014). QAA: Safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education. from UAE Vision 2021. (2011). Retrieved 9 October, 2012, from

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