Library and information science distance education and continuing professional development in Pakistan

Muhammad Aslam Bhatti (Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan)
Muhammad Arif (Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Publication date: 1 June 2006



To reiterate and update previous work in this area in the light of intervening developments in educational technology; and in particular to demonstrate the value of distance education for those sections of Pakistani society who are not well served by conventional educational methods. Those in need of workplace learning and similar forms of educational outreach are an important subset of this population.


This is a historical account of distance learning in LIS education in Pakistan, with particular reference to the role of the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), and also some conclusions and pointers for the future drawing on developments from 1999 to date.


Distance education has a unique role to play in Pakistan, where high university drop‐out rates in conventional Higher Education, the need for outreach to the remote, rural poor, and the social barriers placed between women and participation in traditional education are notable features of social and educational life.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents some of the challenges to be faced by practitioner researchers in helping further understanding of how distance learning and education can be offered successfully to a variety of sections of Pakistani society, including those with a need for vocational training in general and for continuing professional development in the workplace in particular.

Practical implications

The example chosen of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) gives a practical context to the paper's assertions about the value and potential of distance education in the developing world.


The paper gives some insight into how ‘developed’ world models of distance education, delivered via the new media, might offer the way forward to existing distance education activities in the developing world.



Aslam Bhatti, M. and Arif, M. (2006), "Library and information science distance education and continuing professional development in Pakistan", Library Review, Vol. 55 No. 5, pp. 307-313.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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