School record keeping is as vital as the school itself, in fact, it is the sub-system that determines the system. What this means is that there is no school or an institution of learning without good comprehensive school record keeping.
WHAT IS SCHOOL RECORD KEEPING?
School records keeping is the act of keeping information or data which is collected on various aspects of a school and preserved for future use. The information which is written manually or electronically is preserved in books, diskettes, and other electronic materials.
School, records include all books and files containing information on what goes on in school, who is in the school, and the types of properties owned by the school.
School records keeping serve as a bank in which information is deposited and kept with the hope of retrieving and utilizing it in the future. Proper keeping of educational records could enhance the planning process, serve as a historical record, provide knowledge on students’ academic performance and facilitate schools’ financial administration. It will also provide a basis for advisory and counseling services.
IMPORTANCE OF SCHOOL RECORD KEEPING
Generally speaking, school record keeping is very important. They are kept because they provide:
- Useful information on persons (staff and students)
- Facts on important activities in the school
- Data banks which can prove useful educational planners in projects into the future
- Authentic sources of information for refereeing on staff and students of the school when need be
- Empirical base for assessing school performance
- Great assistance for successive school heads in the arduous task of school
- A source of school history and
- A veritable guide for school inspection/supervision.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD SCHOOL RECORDS KEEPING
Considering the great importance of attached records, school heads are advised to ensure that the records are properly kept. They can do this by paying serious attention to the characteristics of good records. Good school records must be:
- Factual – verifiable facts, honesty recorded
- Clear/unambiguous- legible and capable of one interpretation
- Promptly kept to avoid guesswork at a date and be ensure authenticity
- Signed to show authentic reliable source
- Chronologically kept for ease of historical and analytical reference
- Comprehensive and up to date
- Accessible and easily retrievable on-demand or when needed
- Safe from termites, water, fire, etc.
- Property cataloged for ease of reference.
PROBLEMS OF SCHOOL RECORDS KEEPING IN NIGERIAN SCHOOLS
The problems of record-keeping in Nigerian schools are many and serious. However, we shall be discussing, in brief, some of the major problems of school record keeping. thus:
Poor school record-keeping as presently observed in Nigerian schools, suggests that many school heads lack the knowledge of the usefulness of property-kept school records. Many teachers and non-teachers who are delegated with the authority and corresponding responsibility of keeping records in the schools do not appeal to show that they appreciate the value of the exercise in the complex equation of educational development of the nation. Enlightenment program for all school personnel appears imperative. It is true that some records need special skills to be properly kept. The knowledge of what to do will definitely help.
NON UTILIZATION OF SUBMITTED RECORDS
Arbitrary financial allocation to schools that have been directly proportional to student population and promotion of teachers with poor evaluation scores in preference to many with outstanding good performance leaves a very serious question mark on how those in authority make an important decision that should have been guided by submitted records. This dampens the spirit of school personnel who believe that decisions should be based on facts and not the rule of thumb. Consequently, school records keeping is dismissed as a tortuous valueless routine.
LACK OF SPACE
Lack of office space, for files, cupboards, shelves, and file cabinets leaves the school heads frustrated about where to store valuable records.
LACK OF SCHOOL RECORDS KEEPING FACILITIES
Computer and film services are modern facilities devised to facilitate the reduction of record volumes and facilitate the retrieval of records. They also have the added advantage of reducing the space occupied by records kept in files and notebooks.
These important facilities are lacking in schools. Shelves, cupboards, file cabinets, files, and notebooks are equally lacking in many schools. The financing of the school system appears to be very poor that the school heads are left frustrated with writing un-replied memoranda to constituted authorities for funds. When replied, school administrators are advised to wait until the economy improves. Nigerian schools obviously need improved financing to meet the huge responsibilities placed on them.
LACK OF SECURITY
security is grossly lacking in Nigerian Schools. The file disappears from shelves; important documents are pilfered from files. In strange circumstances, records are mysteriously set ablaze to cover one selfish interest or the other or covered perpetrated fraud.
LACK OF CO-OPERATION AMONG SCHOOL PERSONNEL
Some school bursars and teachers it fashionable to derelict on school record-keeping responsibilities assigned to them by the school head, apparently because school record-keeping is primarily the responsibility of the school heads and not the primary responsibilities of the teachers. In some cases, blunt refusal to keep records is strongly connected to teachers.
LACK OF TRANSPORT FACILITIES
Most of the schools in Nigeria lack road-worthy vehicles. In many cases, the schools have no vehicles to call their own. Recordkeeping, therefore, suffers serious set-back where there is a need for input/ data runs.
6 MODERN STRATEGIES FOR SCHOOL RECORDS KEEPING
There are amazingly 6 modern strategies for keeping or preserving school records in this 21st century which is obviously more reliable compared to what we had far back in the 80s and 90s. thus:
- Use of computer
- Use of filling cabinet
- Audio and videocassette
- Flash drive
- Compact disc.
- School management system
ADVANTAGES OF USING COMPUTERS FOR SCHOOL RECORD KEEPING
With the computer, school record keeping can be facilitated using Microsoft packages. thus:
There is a high rate of turnover in record-keeping using the computer. Keeping records with the computer is joyful and pleasant than the formal method which is very tasking. Confidentiality of information is better handled using the computer with backups rather than the use of hard copies and other manual operations portable computers can serve as handy book/dairies.
DISADVANTAGES OF USING COMPUTERS FOR SCHOOL RECORD KEEPING
- Getting more addicted to computer use may limit interpersonal interaction
- It may lead to inflammation of sight due to radiation
- Data can be lost if not properly saved especially when there are no backups
- It could be infected by a virus that may destroy documents
- It requires special skills to handle
- The irregular power supply may hinder the operation
- It could be capital intensive
We shall be doing justice to School Records in our next publication. Follow us carefully for every detail on this interesting subject matter. This presentation is worth hundreds of thousands of Naira on a good day if we are invited for a seminar but I am willing to give this special seminar out as my Easter Gift to the world especially to African School administrators for efficient and effective teaching and learning in all African Schools.
However, you can consult, write or invite us to your schools for training and re-training of your staff and management on “effective teaching/learning, classroom control/management, and excellent school record keeping.