Pakistani education system has been divided into six levels: Pre-school, Primary school, middle School, high school, secondary school Certificate, Higher Secondary School and university programms to undergraduate and graduate level. Each schools has attached libraries that fulfill the needs of teachers and students both.
In developed countries like USA, UK, Germany, France, etc the role of school libraries are remarkable. Children at schools grow their educations while studying in the libraries. Teachers are nurturing the reading habits of their children.
Most of them gain reading-oriented skills before getting certificates. In developing countries like Pakistan, school libraries are limited and non-active in reading habits, most of the government schools at urban level even do not have a library buildings, Few schools at large cities have libraries with limited old books.
Reading habits and libraries are intertwined with each others. Some elite schools like Beaconhouse, Educator, city, Saint-marry, convent, OPF and schools associated with defence foundations have rich collections in their libraries, however these schools create a a huge generation gap between poor and rich masses.
School librarians are now at a crossroad in the instructional role, as technology have evolved the role of librarians in the era of 21st century, now a school librarian is not confined to the four walls of library and a book keeper. They should engage themselves with instructional technologies to become instructional technology specialists.
Technology has become a crucial element for teaching and learning , so teachers and librarians should play the role of educators through technology integration programmes. In the last few decades librarians were just a custodian of book shelves but now the role of school librarians are entering to another period of radical change and that is the combination of information specialist with technology integration.
There are few ways that convert the role of school librarians from information specialists to technological integrated learning: use of databases for children, turning to kindle and e-books, open learning initiative, instant messaging your librarians, Foster a Love of Reading with Electronic Resources, Developing ICT’s capabilities of students, markerspace, Netflix for Kids, Storybird and so on. These technology integrated learning will lead a school librarians to tech-savy practices.
Technologies have been deplyeed in almost education sectors, similarly school libraries are now practicing the same tactics. However, the role of librarians should be more tech-savy instead of passive learners in the old traditional setup. Elite schools in Pakistan should equip their libraries with the latest technology in order to make their students more prolifics.
The government schools in Pakistan though have been deprived from the library buildings and meager budgets, however, it is mandatory for the ministry of education to enhance library budget and ensure school libraries in each urban and rural schools, otherwise the generation gap in lower and upper class will create a catastrophic changes in Pakistan.
In this age of technology the role of school librarian is complementary that would benefit both students and staff at schools. Several free technologies should be integrated for the childrens in government schools to abreast them with latest development. Libraries in Pakistan should opt technology integrated learning at school levels.
The writer is Deputy Director Library at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, he can be reached at email@example.com
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