Unpacking edutainment for children development within community resource centres in Gweru, Zimbabwe
In the past decades, children used to acquire valuable insights and knowledge through storytelling and folklore sessions from adults within the community, schools and libraries. Such sessions, termed educational entertainment (edutainment), used to play a pivotal role in the development of children with regards to cohesion in the society, ensuring moral behaviour, at the same instance acting as a source of entertainment. The advancement in technology has shifted the mode of edutainment, from storytelling to virtual classrooms and gaming-based approaches. This has been a global paradigm shift, yet most information centres, and libraries in the developing world are still to realise adequate infrastructure able to facilitate edutainment for children. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to derive mechanisms that could be put in place by libraries, and information centres to ensure edutainment for children, focusing on Mkoba in Gweru as a case. The study was qualitative in nature, utilising opinions and view-points from study participants. Expert sampling was used to select librarians, and information centres’ staff members. Captive sampling was used to select community members. Interviews were used to gather data from librarians and information centre staff members. Questerviews were used to gather data from the library and information centres’ users. The study found out that the dynamic nature of technology and lack of training and capacity development therefore, of library and information centres’ staff members were a challenge in the implementation of edutainment. In addition, the study found out that financial challenges hindered libraries and information centres from instituting edutainment. Furthermore, the study found out that lack of an effective user needs assessment was another challenge. As the libraries and information centres were not fully aware of the library and information needs of its users, including children. As a way forward, the study signified the need for training and capacity building of staff members by the institute management. In addition, the study also revealed that the diverse open source edutainment application programmes that do not have financial implications. A user assessment survey by the libraries and information centres was also noted as a strategic mechanism to ensure awareness of effective edutainment facilities for children.
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