SCHOOL RECORD KEEPING: A STRATEGY FOR MANAGEMENT OF NIGERIAN SECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL MANAGEMENT
UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN.
††††††† This paper focuses on keeping of school records as a strategy for management of secondary educational institutions in Nigeria. Educational industry has certain problems which makes its administration complex. Therefore school managers are expected to use their administrative skills to solve such problems and ensure the achievement of educational objectives. Through school records, management functions such as planning human and materials resources, directing of school programmes and funding can be enhanced. School records can also assist school managers in supplying information to and soliciting assistance from parents, communities, government agencies and international organizations. Ensuring safety and confidentially of school records, positive attitude towards record keeping, adequate knowledge of record keeping and availability of record materials are recommended as means of making school records a management tool.
Development of a society is closely tied to its level of educational development. In Nigeria, for instance the belief is that the higher the level of educational attainment, the better the condition of living and the overall development of the citizens. Hence education has been adopted as an instrument for effecting national development (Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004).
††††††† Moreover, problems facing Nigerians such as poverty, political instability, poor agricultural products and poor transportation are being attributed to lack of a type of education that is relevant and adequate for the need of the nation. Thus, it is believed that a solution to such problems lies in acquisition of the right type of skills knowledge and competencies through education. †
††††††† As a result of the belief in education as a potent solution to emerging or existing societal problems, a lot of human and material resources are being invested on regular basis, into the nationís educational institutions. At secondary school level, like the other two levels of education, the investments in the past years have been very enormous.
††††††† Incidentally, there are many problems which are emanating within the secondary educational institutions. For instance, problems such as examination malpractices, poor academic performance, moral decadence and other forms of deviant behaviour, are of regular occurrence in the institutions. As the problems occur they constitute impediments to the achievement of educational objectives.
††††††† One of the presumed causes of these problems is poor management. Whenever a problem erupts in a school, managers of the school i.e. principal, vice principals, head of units and subject teachers are looked upon for solution. The belief is that if schools are well managed, things will go on smoothly and the educational objectives will be achieved. The extent to which a manager is able to rise up to this challenge would determine the level of confidence he would enjoy from this government and the public.
††††††† School managers are therefore, expected to perform management functions on order to control the activities of members of the school. In this paper, the focus is on strategies for using school records for effective management of secondary educational institutions in Nigeria.
Management of secondary schools
††††††† Management is a process of making use of human and non-human resources to achieve organizational goals (Onifade, 2004). Management involves planning, controlling, organizing, staffing, leading, coordinating and directing the available resources (Adeleke, 2001). Management of secondary schools refers to a process of making use of the available resources towards the achievement of an education goal at secondary school level. The goals, according to the National Policy on Education, are preparation of individuals for:
(a) useful living within the society, and
(b) higher education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004)
The head of school and their subordinates have the administrative responsibilities of directing available resources towards actualization of the goals. They plan classrooms and out-of-classroom activities for teachers and students. They also co-ordinate the school activities in order to ensure that many programmes go on at the same time without one conflicting with others.
Specifically they perform the following administrative duties.
1. Resources and programme planning and policy making
2. Provision and maintenance of funds and facilities.
3. Obtaining and development of personnel.
4. Improvement of instructional programmes.
5. Student personnel services and
6. Maintenance of effective interrelationship with the community and external agencies (Nwankwo, 1982.)
In spite of the fact that many school managers do engage in these duties, problems of indiscipline are still rampant among their teachers and students. The reason for these could have been that, school managers are operating within a complex environment which could be posing a lot challenges to their successful administration.
According to Nwankwo (1982), there have been changes in composition of school personnel in terms of numbers, gender and student-teacher relationship. Also modern technological development has led to information and knowledge explosion; and, students are no more reliant on teachers as their sole source of information. Other reasons include, increasing politicalization of education which has brought about divergent demands from government, politicians, parents and other stake-holders. Changes in societal values are posing another challenge to a school manager. Little attention is being paid to educational pursuit and the attention is more on acquisition of wealth. These developments, which are true in the present as they were in the past are making school administration complex. Also the situation could have led to a breakdown of law and order in schools.
Therefore, improvement on existing administrative practices and exploring ways of tackling any emerging problems is demanded of school managers in order to overcome the administrative problems.
School records and their essence in secondary educational institutions.
††††††† Records as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary (1980), and cited by Onifade (2004), are Ďinformation or data on a particular subject collected and preservedí This definition implies that any processed or unprocessed datum that is collected and kept for future use constitutes a Ďrecordí. (p.60)
††††††† On regular basis, information on school personnel (pupils, teachers and non-teachers), facilities, funds and school activities, are collected and preserved. This collection becomes school records. School records are therefore information or data which are collected on various aspects of a school and preserved for future use. The information or data which are written manually or electronically are preserved in books, files, diskettes and other electronic materials. Mbiti (1974), summmarises this concept when he states that school records include all books and files containing information on what goes on in school, who is in the school and the type of properties owned by the school. School records include
(i) A register of admission and withdrawal
(ii) A register of attendance
(iii) A log-book
(iv) A cash book
(v) A visitorís book
(vi) A copy of education law
(vii) Scheme of work
(viii) Teacherís record of work
(ix) School time-table
(x) Corporal punishment book
(xi) Counterfoils of transfer and leaving certificates, and
(xii) Minutes book of the Board of Governors. (Olagboye, 2004 p. 122)
School records serve as a bank in which information is deposited and kept with the hope of retrieving and utilizing in the future. Proper keeping of school records could enhance planning process, serve as historical record, provide knowledge on students academic performance and facilitate schoolsí financial administration. It will also provide a basis for advisory and counselling services.
School records provide raw data which can be used by officials of education ministries for planning purpose. Data collected from school records on pupils enrolment and school facilities can be analysed in order to determine the number of teachers and other resources that would be needed by the school. Within the school, records would enhance planning for placement of students into higher classes.
Through records, especially the log-book, the history of the school could be known. Important events of the school are recorded in the log-book. Hence, it services as a good reference point of whoever intends to know the happening in the school. In fact, it serves as historical sources of useful information to principalís or headmasterís successor and to outside researchersí (Edem, 1982).
School records also enables us know the termly and yearly academic performance of students. School managers will be able to determine the academic progress of the students and take necessary precautionary measures towards improving their academic performance.
The financial status of the school could be determined through school records. Income and expenditure of the school are entered into appropriate ledger, and this enhances accountability on the part of the school administrator.
School records also provide a basis for advisory and counselling services. Teachers, head teachers and school counsellors could make use of records in order to give advice on studentsí academic activities.
Using school record as a management strategy
††††††† One purpose a school record can serve is to assist in effective management of the school. Managers are required to keep records not only because it is a statutory duty but because of its value in improving management practices. School records can enhance managerial duty performances in the following area:
(i)†††† Planning for resource acquisition and utilization
††††††† Resources such as teachers, non-teachers and students, constitute the personnel in the school. They are to be absorbed into the school in adequate quantity and quality. Also, facilities that would be needed in the school should be determined by the administration. Records such as studentsí admission and attendance registers, school inventories book and teachersí register will be consulted in order to plan for acquisition of the resources. Their utilization should also be planned for when records are consulted.
††††††† Time is another scarce resource which needs to be well managed in order to avoid its being wasted. School calendar, time-table and class time-table could be used to allocate programmes, curricular and co-curricular activities of the school. Planning, coordination, control and organizing of school activities could be enhanced through the use of these records.
(ii)††† Student and staff personnel services
††††††† Teachersí office accommodation and studentsí classroom accommodation should be provided in school. Also, teachers and studentsí school and classroom attendance and movement during school periods should be monitored. Another aspect of personnel services is control and modification of studentsí and staff behaviour. Records such as students attendance register, staff time book, staff movement book, students class records book, teachers class record book, corporal punishment book, staff personal file and, students personal file will be administratively relevant in this situation. As stated by Akube (1991) when people are aware that records are being kept about them, they tend to be more careful in their general behaviour. Moreover, government regulations on what to do (course content, curriculum) who do it (personnel) when to do it (time) where to do it (educational institutions) and how to do it (methodology, funding, and facilities required), are vital to school management. These are contained in the education law and the National Policy on education which are to be kept in school.
(iii)†† Financial management
††††††† When financial transactions are properly documented and kept in records, incidence of fraud, overspending and financial waste, will be curtailed to large extent. Records such as cash book, bank account book, cheque book, account ledger and receipt for payments, are useful records for this purpose.
(iv)†† Improvement of instructional programme could be achieved when records such as lesson plan, scheme of work and record of work are kept. Teacherís activities could be controlled and monitored when records of what has been done and what should be done within a period are checked. The teacher could advised praised encouraged and directed as appropriate.
(v)††† Maintenance of effective interpersonal relationship with the community and external agencies. Record such as visitors book, Parent-Teachers Association minute book and Board of Governorís book, constitute points of reference of fostering good relationship between school and external bodies, knowing their needs and getting the needs of the school across to them.
††††††† School record may not be able to serve its purpose as a management tool unless certain measures are taken by the school administrators. The following recommendations are therefore worthy of note.
††††††† School and classroom administrators should develop a positive attitude towards record keeping. As a result of lack of commitment on the part of the administrators, some records are not properly kept while some are not kept at all. For example, many schools including government owned ones, are not having copies of education law and national policy on education, in their schools. Records should be seen as ďa tool for attainment of school objectives, and as a routinized ritual with no useful purpose in viewĒ (Edem, 1982, p.3).
††††††† As a corollary to this teachers should have an understanding of record keeping process. At school level, a seminar on record-keeping should be held and samples of all records should be made available for teachers to see. Through this method, records such as log-book and punishment book which are usually kept in the head of a schoolís office, would be seen and handled by younger teachers. In addition, teachers should acquire knowledge on modern methods of record keeping which are made available through modern information technology.
††††††† Records should be kept honestly, accurately, safely and confidentially, planning done with falsified records can not be accurate and this will not augur well for the nationís educational development.
††††††† Finally, the government and the school authorities should provide facilities that are required for record keeping. For example, record books, files, audio and visual equipment, should be provided in sufficient quantity. Storage facilities which will enhance safety of the records from theft, mutilation, destruction and accessibility to unauthorized persons, should be provided to all schools.
††††††† School records are meant to enhance the performance of secondary school administrators. When records are kept and utilized appropriately, execution of management functions is likely to be easy and effective. School records also enable teachers and student to be alive to their responsibilities and work conscientiously towards the achievement of educational objectives.
Adeleke, A. (2001). Management concepts and application. Lagos: Concept Publications Limited.
Akube, A.U. (1991). Classroom organisation and management: A 5-point strategy. Ibadan: wisdom Publishers Ltd.
Edem, D.A. (1982). Introduction to educational administration in Nigeria. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) National policy on education. Abuja: NERDC.
Mbiti, D.M. (1974). Foundations of school administration. Nairobi: Oxford university Press.
Nwankwo, J.I. (1982). Educational administration: Theory and practice. New Delhi: Vikas publishimg house P..T. Limited.
Olagboye, A.A. (2004). Introduction to educational management in Nigeria. Ibadan: Daily graphics (Nigeria) Limited.
Onifade, A. (2004). Management: Office. Business. Education. Abeokuta: KAPPCO Nigeria Limited† †††††
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