Students graduated from higher educational institutions in a society should be highly skilled citizen of a country who can act as a leader for societal change and can be an example for society to follow. In this 21st century, educated graduates must be competent with a number of skills and abilities like lifelong learnings, able to find solutions of a problem, able to be succeeded in the competitive working environment, ability to think independently and critically, professional, social and ethical understanding and many more. However, it is believed that higher educational institutions should include the teaching of lifelong learning skills in their missions. Information literacy plays a crucial role in producing skilled graduate in this dramatically changing era. Through IL it is possible to make life-long learner, critical thinker and self-learner. Therefore, in higher education environment, the concept of IL has been gaining much more attention in today’s world and a number of professional bodies, associations and educationalists have developed IL models, standards, frameworks and declarations (CILIP, 2018; ACRL, 2016; UNESCO, 2014; SCONUL, 2011) in order to improve IL courses in all levels of educations.
According to UKCISA (2018), 81% of students studying in HE in the UK are from the UK. 6% are from the rest of the EU and 13% are from the rest of the world. The total number of non-UK students studying in the UK in 2016-17 was 442,375. This huge number of students are enriching cultural diversity as well as contributing to the economic progress of the country; at the same time brings a wide variety of needs, experiences, and expectations. So, it is agreed that the needs and expectations of non-UK students cannot be ignored in any way considering all positive impacts. Besides, over last twenty years, research into information literacy and international students has grown significantly (Bordonaro, 2013). The literature confirms that, because of linguistics, racial, cultural, ethnic or national differences; the level of IL skills of international students is comparatively lower than native students. They may be lacking appropriate skills (Chen and van Ullen, 2011, 210) and critical thinking abilities (DiMartino and Zoe, 2000) and struggle with finding, evaluating and using information resources appropriately (Dubicki, 2010). Usually, international students get to adopt in a new environment of teaching, learning and assessment and many of them also face challenges to cope with the new self-directed learning procedure against their habitual teacher-centred method of teaching (Robertson et al., 2000). They also find the problem of identifying relevant peer-reviewed articles because of limited vocabularies and lacking critical thinking abilities. Moreover, depending on the extent of their linguistic and cultural differences, students may have the deficiency in writing skills. According to Lillis (2001) students reading and writing skills are greatly influenced by the educational backgrounds, language, ethnicity, and also because of cultural expectations. Among many other problems, most noteworthy problems for the international students are lacking in communication, research and study skills, fear of facing failure and library anxiety (Baron & Strout-Dapaz, 2001; Brown, 2000). Students also have less knowledge about plagiarism and appropriate referencing styles and these practices is the reflection of the different academic background of international students around the world. Moreover, intellectual property right, copyright laws are not very effective in many countries which may be a reason for not using these rules and regulations of referencing and avoiding plagiarism (Brown, 2000). Where using or copying text from others without acknowledging is a serious breach in western countries, it is sometimes common practice in many Eastern cultures (Ballard & Clanchy, 1997).
It is important that the international students can feel that their needs, expectations, and values are considered and addressed. So, in developing the information literacy programmes for international students there should not be only concern for the effective content building of library instruction to use library materials effectively but also such development must be based on understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity and should give emphasis on multicultural ethos which will make all the students independent and lifelong learners. As international students face challenges in adapting to a new environment than the native students, they need to be provided additional support to achieve equity. Moreover, it is also important to think about their challenges and needs as individuals rather than too generalizing.
ACRL (2016). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. (Online) Available at: http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/issues/infolit/Framework_ILHE.pdf (Accessed 20 June 2018).
Ballard, B., and Clanchy, J. (1997). Teaching international students: A brief guide for lecturers and supervisors. Deakin, ACT: IDP Education Australia.
Baron, S., and Strout-Dapaz, A. (2001). Communicating with and empowering international students with a library skills set. Reference Services Review, 29 (4), 314- 326.
Berzonsky, W.A. and Richardson, K.D. (2008), “Teaching undergraduates to identify, validate, and utilize peer-reviewed online literature”, Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, 37(1), pp. 8-13 and 21-35.
Bordonaro, K. (2013) Internationalization and the North American University Library, Lanham: The Scarecrow Press.
Brown, C. C. (2000). Reference services to the international adult learner: Understanding the barriers. The Reference Librarian, 69/70, pp. 337-347.
Chen, Y-H. and Van Ullen, M. K. (2011) Helping international students succeed academically through research process and plagiarism workshops, College and Research Libraries, 72 (3), 209-235.
CILIP (2018). CILIP definition of information literacy 2018, CILIP Information Literacy Group, (Online) Available at https://infolit.org.uk/ILdefinitionCILIP2018.pdf, (Accessed 16 June 2018).
DiMartino, D. and Zoe, L. (2000) International students and the library: New tools, new users
Dubicki, E. (2010), “Research behavior patterns of business students”, Reference Services Review, 38(3), pp. 360-384.
Lillis, T. (2001), Student Writing: Access, Regulation, Desire, Routledge, London
Robertson, M., Line, M., Jones, S. and Thomas, S., (2000). International students, learning environments and perceptions: A case study using the Delphi technique. Higher Education Research & Development, 19(1), pp.89-102.
SCONUL (2011). The SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy: Core Model for Higher Education. (Online) Available at: https://www.sconul.ac.uk/sites/default/files/documents/coremodel.pdf (Accessed 16 June 2018).
UKCISA (2018) International student statistics: UK higher education. (Online) Available at: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Research–Policy/Statistics/International-student-statistics-UK-higher-education. (Accessed 23 June 2018)
UNESCO (2014). Paris Declaration calls for renewed emphasis on Media and Information Literacy in the Digital Age. (Online) Available at: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/news/paris_mil_declaration.pdf (Accessed 17 June 2018).