Provision for digital records management in the curriculum of LIS schools at public universities in South Africa
The need for education in archives and records management cannot be over-emphasised. Education can help to empower archivists and records managers in tackling the challenges of managing and preserving records created in networked environments. The latter entails ensuring security, authenticity and integrity of records. In view of the tectonic shifts that have taken place within Africa, particularly South Africa, and the use of social media in innovative ways, archives and records management professionals’ demands have changed. This study examines the archives and records management curricula in different educational institutions in South Africa with the view to ascertaining the extent to which they address the changing digital environment. First, desktop research evaluating the websites of all 26 public universities in South Africa was conducted to identify schools offering archives and records management programmes. This was followed by content analysis of the curricula of universities that offer archives and records management programmes from the website. Then the doctoral graduates of these programmes were subsequently examined to identify issues addressed in their theses. It was established that the current curricula at public universities in South Africa do not fully embrace the management of digital records. For example, as of 2018, the education programme available for archivists in South Africa consisted of only a few programmes offered by four institutions of higher learning out of 26 universities with only 11 modules addressing records in a digital environment. Therefore, there is a need to align the curriculum at higher learning institutions in South Africa to also embrace records created in networked environments. It is hoped that the study will inform curriculum development and review in the area of digital records management at universities in South Africa.