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Information and digital literacy: a stumbling block to development?: A Pakistan perspective

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Purpose ‐ The paper aims to explore the overall state of information and digital illiteracy (IDL) in developing countries and how it hampers the growth of individuals and nations. The case of Pakistan is to be used as an example to illustrate the endemic state of poor information and digital literacy. It also aims to discuss the general drawbacks to effective IDL in developing Asian countries. Design/methodology/approach ‐ To achieve the objectives of the study, the literature review and result of Pakistan-based surveys are used to indicate the state of IDL among university students and faculty in one country while integrating these findings with discussion. Findings ‐ It was found that in Pakistan, as elsewhere, IL/IDL practice and training are not the norm in libraries or in education; they are not operational priorities. The low level of IL/IDL among the educated classes contributes to the status quo of information illiterate citizens. It also establishes that becoming "critical consumers" of information is essential for personal and national empowerment. Originality/value ‐ The study explores the overall status of IDL in the developing countries using case of Pakistan as example. It suggests conducting local research on contextually relevant literacies and IL/IDL. The paper invokes the appreciation for making IL/IDL an integral part of learning programmes at all levels.
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Keywords: Developing countries; Disadvantage groups; Education; Information literacy; Pakistan

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2, 2009

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