Factors affecting the implementation of information literacy education in Malaysian primary schools
Information literacy (IL) is one of the 21st century survival skills. The concept of IL has spread widely, and IL programmes have appeared in many countries in formal settings such as schools and higher education institutions, workplaces, and community and continuing education programmes. Information literacy education (ILE) in Malaysia is officially integrated into the school curriculum. Though the Malaysian government claims that IL has been implemented in the country’s education system, anecdotal evidence suggests that the extent of ILE is uneven across schools.Thus, the goal of this qualitative study has been to identify the factors affecting the implementation of ILE in Malaysian primary schools and to explore how these factors are facilitating or hindering the process. The first stage in the research was to develop a preliminary model based on three theories: Hall and Hord’s Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM), Chen’s Action Model and Fullan’s Theory of Educational Change. CBAM provided a guide to identify the stages of implementation and factors that could affect ILE implementation within schools. The other two theories were used to identify and understand potential factors internal and external to the school ecology. Also incorporated into the model were other factors identified from the literature, such as teachers’ lack of time and resources. The interpretive paradigm was chosen in order to produce deep insights into the research problem. To explore how ILE was being implemented and to identify factors that were facilitating or hindering its implementation, case studies were conducted involving four primary schools of different types in Malaysia. Documentary evidence was gathered and semi-structured interviews were conducted with staff in these schools and with key stakeholders in education administration. Analysis of the transcripts of the interviews showed that the development and progress of ILE implementation is slower than might be expected. Hence, a range of factors hindering and facilitating ILE implementation have been identified. Most interviewees had positive attitudes towards ILE. They believed that ILE was important and had the potential to make teaching and learning activities more engaging and fun. The interviewees however also reported that there were problems in implementing ILE. These problems were associated with individual, organisational, social and cultural factors. It was also noted that there were different priorities accorded to ILE implementation in the case study schools. This was related to the different linguistic settings. Findings from this study are significant to reorient the education and training system in the country so that students are able to develop the knowledge, skills and expertise essential to fully participate in today’s digital environment. Findings also provide insight into ILE implementation in different social and cultural contexts, so contribute new perspectives to existing, Western dominated theory.