As Frederick Douglass said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free”
Today technology is changing way faster than before and with this advancement, a modern and more developed world is growing. With the introduction of liberalization and globalization India’s economy has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, but what about the evolution of society in this fast-expanding world?
Let's start at the primary level. All of us, disregarding statuses, have to go to school. There, we are taught theories, and then the whole schooling experience is done. All the fifteen years of schooling is based on the concept of theories having prevailed for a long time. What we study in the sixth standard remains the same even after five years. So we get the inkling that the academic curriculum in India follows the old ways of teaching ways even in this digital world.
In higher education, on the other hand, students are full of theoretical, and not practical, knowledge so their minds are shaped like that. Few privileged ones get to know about various kinds of information and its optimum usage, but what about others? Not only entitled youth but everyone plays an extremely crucial role in a growing nation. The question is, How can the future hold a better world if all one does is in theory only, without any practical analysis, when the shape of information is changing every day and we all are still so focused on the old teaching methods?
To make the youth be the fortunate bearer, we have to provide more for them. The information has to be distributed to every potential member of society in a manner that does not harm the privacy of others, which is ethical, articulate and engaging with authority and credibility. It is the ability to find, evaluate, organize, use, and communicate information in all its various formats, most prominently in situations requiring decision making, problem-solving, or the acquisition of knowledge. It is an aggregation of probe skills, critical thinking skills, computer technology skills, and communication skills. It is a prerequisite for scholastic achievement, effective functioning in the workplace, and participation in society as knowledgeable citizens. The above-mentioned concept is called INFORMATION LITERACY.
According to the American Library Association, "Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.”
Many prominent institutions like UNESCO and Boorstin have also promoted information literacy in the following words:
"Information literacy empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It’s a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion in all nations."
“Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drive out knowledge.”
A new concept called e-Readiness is introduced to show a country's capacity and state of preparedness to participate in the electronic world. In the recent years, e-Readiness ranking of the countries in Asia and the Pacific region are taken, where India stands 10 out of 16 countries in this region and 53 out of 68 countries of the world. This ranking is based on the annual study of the Economist Intelligence Unit on the parameters like connectivity, business environment, consumer and business adoption, legal and policy environment, social and cultural environment and supporting e-services.
The government of India has tried to increase the population of information literates and educated citizens through different programs like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), and National Literacy Mission. These programs aim at the ability to applye principles of scholarly communication to problems of information handling;
The ability to locate, select and use appropriate information retrieval tools in order to obtain useful information in connection with studies or work of the end-users, and when required; and
Confidence in using, and sharing information searching.
These information-literacy standards can be adapted in a developing country like India, that aims at becoming a knowledge society, where knowledge utilization and knowledge creation capabilities are the driving force in economic and social development. Here, in India, information-literacy programes are already prevailing, but not in any grand forms. It exists in various libraries and information centers, in the forms of user education, bibliographic directions, library instruction, library research, and so on. Many officials are trying to integrate information literacy starting from the school level to the higher education, vocational education, professional education and research degree level, which will further boost the society.