IFLA SL Newsletter

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Education for Information literacy

Lakshmi Attygalle
Deputy Principal , Royal College
Colombo, Sri Lanka


Information Literacy was an alien word to both Sri Lankan students and their teachers merely a decade ago. But now every school-going child at least knows that there is a thing called a computer. They many not have opportunity to work with a computer, but there are so many applications in everyday life, that they can’t avoid the technology. With the rapid expansion of Information Technology, information literacy is becoming part and parcel of our daily lives.

However towards this end Sri Lanka has a very long way to go. To evolve information literate communities, esp. with the huge population and wide disparity in the economy of the country, is a major challenge. There is a serious inequity between the rich and the poor in our society. The huge variation in access to resources between suburbs and remote areas only tends to widen the gap in the learning processes.

Sri Lanka has been a leader in developing the Empowering 8 Problem-Solving model in the South Asia Region. It is a model which shows much promise in helping children become information literate, and encourages teachers to adapt their pedagogical approaches to meet individual needs. It will take a long time for this methodology to become integral to the teaching-learning process. We need model schools, and model programs to make it more visible to the stakeholders and to the Ministry personnel. The need to embed the skills of information literacy coupled with information communication technology into the curriculum as a responsibility of every teacher is imperative in developing countries.

The National Library has been taking an active role in encouraging reading and related activities across the whole country. International School Library Day has been celebrated in many schools. Recommendations for activities that all teachers can use are provided by the National Library staff.

Stakeholders must take up the challenge to encourage problem-solvers in our schools, and to help students become information literate citizens for the next generation. If we want to develop leaders, we must develop a community of readers. School libraries and quality school librarians are a vehicle to adapt the modern technologies to local teaching situations. Cooperative planning with teachers will make it possible to develop learning situations where students will become information literate, with good communication skills, and good reading habits.

Sri Lanka is on the threshold of change. Leadership from the Ministry and from the professionals in the field is imperative.

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Sri Lanka | Leave a comment