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Development of Library Education System in Bangladesh

Library education means educating the students for being qualified librarians or information scientists through organized instruction and training. Library and Information Science (LIS) includes academic studies on how library resources are used and how people interact with library systems. The library education system was started in Bangladesh before her independence. The country has passed fifty year of education history in LIS. We have an education system from certificate course to PhD in LIS.  Two public universities offer B.A (Honours) and M.A. in in LIS and some institutes offer diploma course in LIS. About five hundred LIS professionals are being produced from these educational institutions every year. But this number is not sufficient to meet the information requirements of one hundred and sixty million people of Bangladesh. Not only that, the quality of LIS professionals is not up to the mark but also we have to work hard for the overall development from education system to professional development.
Development of Library and Information Science Education Systems in Bangladesh:
We can divide Library education systems in Bangladesh into seven decades.
First decade: 1951 – 1960
Librarianship training started with the first three-month certificate course in librarianship at the central library of the University of Dhaka in 1952. Considering the usefulness of the program, the university authority made a provision for organizing of certificate in librarianship under the Faculty of Arts. The regular three months program thus started with the assistance of the Fulbright scholars and was called “Fulbright Course in Librarianship”. Four Fulbright course were conducted successfully under the supervision of the librarian of University of Dhaka, during 1955-59. The university then suspended the Fulbright certificate course, which ultimately led to the opening of one year PGD (Post Graduate Diploma) program from the session 1959-60 based on the University of London model.Second decade: 1961 – 1970
A one year Masters of Arts (MA) course in library science was formulated at the University of Dhaka in 1962, for students who had completed the PGD. Beginning in 1962-63 with the services of distinguished America, British and Bangladeshi librarians, the MA course started on a more extensive scale. The session of 1964-65 was a landmark in the development of library education in Bangladesh. In this session, programs and courses were recognized as a full-fledged “Department of Library Science” under the Faculty of Arts. This was the first time a university in Bangladesh established a department for Library Education.

Third decade: 1971 – 1980
In 1974-75, the University of Dhaka approved a two year Master of Philosophy (Mphil) program, beginning with the 1974-76 session. At the end of pf 1975-76, the University of Dhaka endorsed a two-year MA course, called a “Master of Art in Library Science.” The first year was designated MA Preliminary and the second MA Final. At the same time, the PGD course continued and the successful students of PGD course could be admitted to the 2nd year MA course. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in library science was approved by the same university beginning in 1978-79.

Forth decade: 1981 – 1990
During 1987-88, a three year Bachelor of Arts (BA) with honours in library and information science began at the University of Dhaka. The department was re-named “Library and Information Science,” to keep pace with the changes in information technology. The university suspended the PGD course and requested that the LAB lunch that course beginning in 1989-90.

Fifth decade: 1991 – 2000
Library and information science was introduced as a subsidiary subject in degree (pass) and honours level for affiliated colleges beginning in 1991-92. The university started the two-year MA course in 1994-95. The one-year MA course was restricted to library and information science graduate students. In 1997-98, to align itself with the western education system, the university initiated a four-year BA (honours) course in information science and library management to replace the three-year BA. In 1999-2000 the four year BA was declared the professional degree, to take effect in 1997-98.
The University of Rajshahi (est. 1953), in the northwest region of the country, started a one year PGD course in library science beginning with 1991-92. The university added a three-year Bachelor of Social Science (BSS) with honours in Library and Information Science from 1992-93 under the Faculty of social Science and established the full-fledged Department of Library and Information Science in that same session. In 1995-96 a one-year Master of Social Science (MSS) course was introduced for its own Library Science Graduate only. After that, the bachelor program was converted into a four year course beginning with 19097-98.
National University (est. 1992) began to offer 400 marks in library and information science as an optional subject in the BA (pass) degree beginning in 1998-99. Three different colleges under the National University will offer that program before the end of this decade.

Sixth decade: 2001 – 2010
From 2001-02, the department of University of Dhaka had the new name “Information Science & Library Management”. From the same session, The University of Rajshahi did away with the PGD course. The National University introduced a two year MA course in Library and Information science in 2003-04. From 2006-2007, the University is also offering a four-year BA (honours) course in the same subject. The Lalmatia Girl’s college has taken the opportunity to start both the MA and BA (honours) courses under the National University. The University of Dhaka started a two year MA (evening) course in 2004-05. From 2006-07, the University of Dhaka introduced a semester system for the BA (honours) course. The University of Rajshahi introduced Mphil and PhD courses for library science graduates from 2006-07. In July 2007, the University of Rajshahi re-named the Department of Library and Information Science “Information Science and Library Management.”

Seventh decade: 2011 – present
In 2011-2012 session the Department of Information Science & Library Management got a huge amount of fund (nearly 125,00,000) from World Bank under Higher Education Quality Enhancement project (HEQEP) project. By this money this dept. introduced a new research laboratory namely as “Digital Library Open Laboratory” (DLOL) for the purpose of exhilarate the research work of the students and teacher. In 2014-15 session Department of Information Science & Library Managment introduced two-year evening MA programme.

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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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