Information needs and constraints of access to educational information in the Fort Beaufort Education District
Types of educational information needed by learners, their level of access and librarians’ supportive roles in learning are pertinent to the attainment of quality education. This study seeks to identify the types of educational information needed by high school learners and the barriers of access. The study is underpinned by the jurisprudential theory of freedom of speech augmented by the theory of access to establish the reality of access. The study adopted a mixed methods approach to obtain data from 331 grade 12 learners, 29 teachers and 3 librarians. The findings reveal that information on requirements for admission into university, subjects taught at school, and career guidance were the most needed by learners. Access challenges include inadequate information resources and the absence of and/or non-functional school libraries. Recommendations include the adequate provision of educational information, information literacy education, employment of qualified librarians by education authorities as well as provision of functional school libraries and information technology tools. The study has shown a need to further examine, in a more rigorous way, the coping strategies of teachers and learners in information-poor communities.
Keywords: educational information; high school learners; information access; information literacy education; information needs; information resources; information technology tools; school libraries