Library and information science education and training in Zimbabwe and the paradigm shift in the information industry.
The purpose of this study was to assess LIS education and training in Zimbabwe in the context of paradigm shift in the information industry and how the indicators of change, mostly at the global level, reflect the interplay of these factors in Zimbabwe. The study was informed by the post positivist paradigm which allows methodological pluralism. Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used to inform the research design and data collection processes. The qualitative perspective was dominant, complemented by the quantitative. The strategy of inquiry combined both the case study and survey research designs. Respondents in the five study cases were surveyed using questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Documentary review was also used to collect data on LIS curricula in Zimbabwe. An integrated theoretical framework consisting of: Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) by Rogers (1995) and Punctuated Equilibrium Theory by Tushman and Romanelli (1985) informed the study. The findings of the study revealed that LIS education and training in Zimbabwe is changing as mirrored in the changing goals; core competencies encapsulated in the curricula; employability skill sets required in the labour market; ICT integration in the curricula; and resources required for delivering the curricula. However, the transitory nature of the information environment and the inadequacies in both human and physical resources have been major obstacles to the transition process resulting in theory/practice gaps and supply and demand disjuncture between what is taught in LIS education programmes and what is expected in the labour environments. This has resulted in criticism by LIS employers that LIS graduates were not industry ready. The study concluded that LIS education and training programmes need to close the theory/practice and demand/supply gap. This call for intensive curriculum overhaul and paradigm shift in models of teaching and learning in LIS education and training. The findings of this study raise awareness of the issues obstructing radical transformations in LIS education and training in Zimbabwe. The study also provides policy makers with evidence based information that is critical for analysis, advocacy, forecasting and strategic planning for LIS education and training reforms. Further research needs to be done on the possibility of establishing specialized LIS professional tracks in the curriculum such as health informatics, law and school librarianship and knowledge management to meet the needs of the labour market and ease the congestion of core competencies in the curricula. The study recommended that LIS education and training programmes invest in the requisite resources, faculty capacity and build mutual linkages with LIS practitioners in collaborative teaching to offset the challenges of resource inadequacies and capacity.