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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 7 NO 1, JUNE, 2009

RECORD KEEPING IN UNIVERSITIES: ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS AND MANAGEMENT OPTIONS IN SOUTH WEST GEO-POLITICAL ZONE OF NIGERIA.

 

 

Ebele Joyce Egwunyenga

Department of Educational Administration

Delta State University , Abraka, Nigeria

 

Abstract

This study examined the associated problems and management options of record keeping among universities in the South West Geo-Political Zone of Nigeria .  A total of 2,471 staff (made up of 684 academic and 1,787 non-academic staff representing 20% of the population of each group) were sampled for the study. A structured questionnaire was used to gather data which were subsequently analyzed by the use of mean scores and Z-test statistics to give answers to two research questions and two hypotheses. Findings revealed that negative attitude of staff, improper security of records, inadequate computer terminals, ineffective means of retrieving records, lack of record keeping policy, inadequate resources as well as lack of record retention and disposition schedule among others were identified as the associated problems. On the other hand, the management options suggested pointed at the need for policy formulation/enlightenment for all staff, training needs of staff, full computerization of all records and provision for university records manual. Arising from the above findings, the following recommendations were made: only professionally trained staff in records management be employed over time and/or existing staff be sent for necessary training through in-service programmes. Induction programmes for new staff and refresher courses for old staff were also recommended. Full computerization of all records and provision of university filing manual are encouraged.

 

Keywords: Record keeping, Universities, Associated problems, Management Options and South West Geo-Political Zone.

 


Introduction:

Record keeping occupies a strategic position in the efficient and effective management of the university system. Infact, it is central in the administration of institutions of leaning because it documents the planning and implementation of appropriate course of services allowing proper monitoring of work. In the conventional paper based organizations such as the universities, paper continues to be viewed as the material for records in administrative documentations (Igwoku 2008). The approach is for records created in the course of day to day business of the universities to be stored and kept in hard copies as evidence of an action, decision or process. However, the process of record keeping provides a framework for keeping, maintaining and providing for the disposition of records and what is contained in them. They are therefore intended to benefit all members of staff by facilitating continuity and evaluation of services and preserving privacy. This framework is provided for by guidelines designed to educate people on decisions regarding professional record keeping. For instances, American Psychological Association (APA 2007) contains the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct” generally required for the maintenance of appropriate records of psychological services. In Nigeria , just as in America , the nature and extent of the record will vary depending upon the purpose, setting and context of the services. However, whatever the record maybe, it is important that the staff get familiar with the legal and ethical requirements for record keeping in their specific professional contexts and jurisdiction. Generally, record keeping must be guided by some level of confidentiality, proper maintenance, security, preservation of the content and context, etc (Uwaifo 2004, Akporhonor and Iwhiwhu 2007). Unfortunately, the Nigeria situation in the business of record keeping and management especially in the university system has not be too successful because of lack of management components (Omeyi 1997). Writing in support of the above finding, Ibiam (2004) noted that many years of neglect had done great damage to the education sector” and record keeping is not an exemption. In his view, Iguodala (1998) believes that personnel (secretaries and filling clerks) who maintain the registry systems with filing cabinets containing the paper evidence of university business are inadequate and in fact ignorant of their responsibilities. This calls to question the reliability and authenticity of records kept in such a system. Giving credence to this, Afolabi (1999) asserted that “record management practice in Nigeria has a number of problems which may include insufficient skilled and experienced record management personnel and possibly, low priority of record management in the scheme of things. Awe (2000) viewed the problems in record keeping from the perspective of these bodies-government, university management, the staff and the students. He accused these bodies of being responsible for unavailable/inaccurate/incomplete dishonest records. And according to (Utulu 2001), these affect adversely planning for and provision of structures and facilities, adequate funding, proper formulation and review of policies. 

 

Other associated problems of recording keeping identified generally in the educational system in Nigeria include lack of record manual and filing guidelines which lead to loss of vital information (Egwunyenga 2005) and inadequate computer terminals (Oketunji 2002). Others are difficulty in record retrieval and lack of appreciation by management and staff of the need for well controlled records (Egunleti 2001). The result of the foregoing is high profile failures in accountability. The management of these problems would mean the development of efficient and effective options within and between universities, this indeed requires urgent attention. Ogundede (2001) believes there is serious training need for staff. Full introduction and sustenance of computer and internet services as well as records management integration (Baje 1998, Fadokun 2004). Adequate manual classification, security, storage facilities and funds are generally recommended for good record keeping (Tower 2004). It is hoped that if these options are adopted in the university system, perhaps most if not all the problems associated with record keeping would have been addressed.

 

Problem Statement:

Perhaps it would not be an overstatement to say that record keeping problems are common to the different levels of the education sector. It is however becoming clearer that it is more pronounced in the university system because accurate, reliable and trustworthy records that fulfill evidential requirements are being created but not properly managed. This therefore becomes an issue of great concern to government, parents, students, individuals and organizations. In the past, frantic efforts to improve the situation in many universities through the introduction of computers and internet services as well as development of database management system do not seem to have helped the situation much because the record management system is still conventionally paper-based and manual in operation. Many management staff complain of funds, and material resources. The reality reveals gross inadequacy of qualified personnel, facilities, students explosion and space problem. This study is therefore a response to the challenge by striving to empirically identify these problems and well defined management options that could improve record keeping processes in universities especially in the study area.

 

Research Questions     

Answers to the following questions were provided in this study.

­­­

1.         What problems are associated with record keeping in universities?

2.         What management option can be employed to improve record keeping processes in universities?

 

Hypotheses:

The hypotheses below were tested in this study.

1.         Views of academic staff do not significantly differ from those of non-academic staff on problems associated with record keeping in universities.

2.         Views of academic staff do not significantly differ from those of non-academic staff on management options to improve record keeping processes in universities.

 

Methods and Procedure:

The study population comprised all academic and non-academic staff of federal and state owned universities in the South West Geo-Political Zone of Nigeria ie 3,418 academic and 8,937 non-academic staff given a total population of 12,355. From the five federal and five state universities, four universities (two federal and two states) were used for the study and actual sample was 2,471 staff (684 academic and 1,787 non academic) selected through the use of stratified random sampling technique. Structured questionnaire with scoring order of Strongly Agreed (SA) = 4, Agree (A) =3, Disagree (D) = 2 and Strongly Disagree (SD) = 1 was used to collect data from the subjects. These were analyzed using mean scores to find answers to the research question and z-test to test the hypotheses.

 

 

 

Results:

Results have been presented in line with the research questions and the hypotheses.

 

Research Question One: What problems are associated with record keeping in universities?

 


Table 1: Mean Rating of Problems Associated with Record Keeping in Universities in the South West Geo-Political Zone of Nigeria .


 

                                                                                                                        N = 2,471

S/N

Record Keeping

SA

A

D

SD

X

Decision

1

Negative attitude in the system e.g laziness, mediocrity etc.

914

1142

351

64

3.18

+

2

Record management system not well implemented

882

1122

327

140

3.11

+

3

Improper security for records

691

1301

423

56

3.06

+

4

Conventional use of paper for official purposes

671

1277

419

104

3.02

+

5

Lack of professionally trained record managers

778

1038

403

252

2.95

+

6

Inadequate computer terminals

707

1150

411

203

2.95

+

7

Involvement of manual operations

595

1178

595

103

2.92

+

8

Inadequate resources

659

1054

627

131

2.91

+

9

Ineffective means of retrieving records

589

1261

423

200

2.90

+

10

Lack of records retention and disposition schedule

503

1257

575

136

2.86

+

11

Lack of policy

555

1026

571

319

2.74

+

12

Lack of filing procedure manual

403

082

854

132

2.71

+

13

Acute space problem

423

914

735

399

2.55

+

14

Transfer and retirements of officers

347

810

1046

268

2.50

+

 

Source: Field Survey

+ = Accepted;  - =  Rejected 

 


Table 1 presents the responses of academic and non-academic staff with regard to the associated problems of recording keeping in their various institutions. The table shows that the overall means of the entire 14 items were greater than the agreement level of 2.50. The items considered very high in the respondents level of acceptance were those with mean rating between 3.18 and 3.02 which included negative attitude in the system (3.18) not well implemented management system (3.11) improper security for records (3.06) and conventional use of paper for official purposes (3.02). Other problems which were accepted were lack of professionally trained managers, inadequate computer terminals, manual operation, inadequate resources, ineffective means of retrieving records lack of records retention and disposition schedule, lack of policy, lack of filing manual and acute space problem had mean rating between 2.95 and 2.50. This indicates that respondents did not reject any of the listed record keeping problems. In other words, record keeping problems are generally present in all universities sampled for the study.

 

Research Question 2

What management options can be employed to improve record keeping processes in universities?


 

Table 2: Mean Rating of Management Options to be Employed to Improve Record Keeping Process in Universities.

 

S/N

 

Record Keeping

 

SA

 

A

 

D

 

SD

­_

X

 

Decision

1

Periodical check to ensure proper management

1437

990

32

12

3.56

+

2

Need for professional training of staff

1309

1186

52

24

3.49

+

3

Maintenance of confidentiality

1357

954

160

-

3.48

+

4

Policy enlightenment were available

1226

1130

88

27

3.44

+

5

Computerization of all universities’ records

1237

1086

140

08

3.44

+

6

Induction/orientation for new staff

1054

1373

24

20

3.40

+

7

Record retention policy/record manual are encouraged

902

1429

128

12

3.30

+

8

Full implementation of internet services

942

1277

212

40

3.26

+

9

Adequate provision of funds

782

1453

224

12

3.22

+

10

Compliance with international standards

503

814

950

204

2.65

+

 

Source: Field Survey

 

+ = Accepted;  - =  Rejected 

 


Table 2 shows a summary of the responses on the management options to improve record keeping process in Nigeria universities. The overall means for the 10 items were greater than the acceptance level of 2.50. This implies that the respondents accepted the 10 options. Those options with overall mean scores of between 3.07 and 3.56 considered very high acceptance by the respondents. These include periodical check to ensure proper management (3.56), need for professional training of staff (3.49). confidentiality (3.48) policy enlightenment (3.44), computerization of all records (3.44), induction for new staff (3.40), record retention manual (3.30), full implementation of internet services (3.26) and Adequate provision of fund (3.22). The 10th item and the last is compliance with international standards (2.65) was also considered as an added option.

 

Hypothesis I:

Views of academic staff do not significantly differ from those of non-academic staff on the problems associated with record keeping in universities.


 

Table 3:

Summary of Z-Test Analysis Showing the Views of Academic and Non-academic Staff on Associated Problems of Record Keeping in Universities.

 

 

Groups

 

N

_

X

Standard Deviation

 

Z Cal

 

Z Critical

Level of Sign

 

Decision

Academic Staff

684

3.06

251.81

 

0.13

 

1.96

 

0.05

Not Significant

Non Academic Staff

1,787

3.08

411.75

 


Table 3 shows the result of a test of difference of the views of academic and non-academic staff on the associated problems of record keeping in universities. The decision is that their views are not significantly different as the calculated z value is 0.13 which is less than 1.96, the critical value of Z. The hypothesis of no difference in their views is hereby upheld.

 

Hypothesis 2:

Views of academic staff do not significantly differ from those of non-academic staff on management

 

 


options to improve record keeping processes in universities.


 


Table 4:

Summary of Z-test analysis showing the views of academic and non-academic staff on management options to improve record keeping processes in universities.

 

 

Groups

 

N

_

X

Standard Deviation

 

Z Cal

 

Z Critical

Level of Sign

 

Decision

Academic Staff

684

3.25

337.71

 

0.20

 

1.96

 

0.05

Not Significant

Non Academic Staff

1,787

3.27

553.14

 


Table 4 shows that there is no significant difference in the views of academic and non-academic staff with regards to management options to improve record keeping in universities. This is because the calculate Z value of 0.20 is less than the critical Z-value of 1.96. Arising from the above result, the hypothesis is therefore upheld.

 

Discussion:

The results of this study point to the fact that there are a number of problems associated with record keeping in the universities ranging from negative attitude of staff, badly implemented record management system, insecurity of records, use of paper convention, lack of training, manual operation, inadequate computer terminal and resources to ineffective retrieving, retention and disposition schedule, as well as lack of policy and filing procedure manual. These agree with the views of Omeyi (1977), Daya (1996), Iguodala (1998), Egwunyenga (2002), and Iwhiwhu (2005) who have in their various studies pointed out at different times that records kept by Nigerian universities, their acquisition policy, methods of preserving and disseminating them are faulty. This finding could explain why it is very difficult to gather information from many universities archives especially students records such as transcripts, sometimes examinations scores which may be declared missing and many other general administrative documents. Even when they are available, these problems may create doubt as to the authenticity and accuracy of such records. The ultimate consequence is embarrassment to such institution. 

 

On management options, the study came up with some useful measures to include periodical checking of records, professional training, full computerization of the system, policy enlightenment, provision of records manual, introduction of internet services, and adequate provision of funds, security and storage facilities. These confirm the approaches put forward by Ogundele (2001) who believes that employee training and staff development are continuous life processes and are imperative because they add quality to management processes. Furthermore, the findings equally agree with Baje (1998), Fadokun (2004) and Tower (2004) who share the idea of adequate security, storage facilities and funds as necessities for good record keeping. The researcher believes that if these options are well adopted, the problems so far identified will gradually become a thing of the past.

 

Conclusion and recommended

The findings of this study have led the researcher to conclude that there exist acute record keeping problems in universities in the South West Geo-Political Zone of Nigeria because there are evident components and these could be curbed effectively by the adoption of the right management options as have been made available by the findings of the study.

 

It is hereby recommended that professionally trained staff be employed over time and existing staff be sent for necessary training through inservice training programmes. In addition, induction programmes for fresh staff, full computerization of universities records and provision of universities’ filing manual are encouraged.

References

Afolabi, M (1999) “Educational Training Archivists and Record Managers in Africa ” Annual Conference Procedure of the Society of Nigerian Archivists. P. 61-67.

 

Awe, F. A. (2000) “Principles and Practice of Schools Record Management” A Paper Presented at a Records Management Course in Lagos State Public Service, Staff Development Centre, Magodo. P. 7-11.

 

Baje, E. N. (1998), Records Management Programme in Oyo State Civil Service, A Study of Governor’s Office. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Ibadan . P. 36.

 

Daya, A. M. J. (1996) “A Proposal for Establishing Archival Records and Manuscripts in Academic Libraries”. Journal of Educational Forum (Vol. 2 No. 1 P. 102).

 

Egunleti, M. F. (2000): Record Keeping/Management Problems in Schools. In Record Management Course Manual, Lagos State Public Service, Staff Development Centre Magodo. February 7th to 11th .

 

Egwunyenga, E. J. (2002) Essentials of School Administration. Benin City Justice Jeco Publishers.

 

Fadokun, J. B. (2004) Deregulation and Professional Development in School Personnel. A Lecture delivered at the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration Ondo.

 

Ibiam, N. (2004) Education Banking: Facts Figures and Benefits: A Paper Presented at a Seminar Organized by the Rivers State Ministry of Education for Private Schools Operators. April, 27th-28th. 

 

Iguodala, W. A. (1998) “Records in Educational Management” in Educational Management for Sub-Saharan African. Mon Nwadiani Dimensions of Education Series No 2 Nigerian Society for Educational Planning (NSEP) Monose Amalgamates.

 

Igwoku, I. F. (2008) An Analysis of Record Management Strategies in Western Nigeria . An unpublished M.Ed. Dissertation. P. 16.

 

Iwhiwhu, E.B. (2005) “Management of Records in Nigerian Universities: Problems and Prospects” The Journal of Electronic Library, Vol. 23 No 3 Pg. 345-355.

 

 

 

Ogundele, A. (2001) “Staff Development for Improvement School Management” in Nwagwu,         N.A., Ehieme-talor, E. T., Ogunu, M.A. and Nwadiani, M. (Eds) Current Issues in Educational Management in Nigeria. Benin City : NAEAP.

 

Omeyi, A. S. (1997) “Effective Record Management, a Tool for Effective Counselling in the School System”. Journal of Counselling and Communication, (Counselling Association of Nigeria, Anambra State Chapter in Conjunction with Guidance and Counselling Units, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka).

 

Tower Software (2004) Best Practice in Corporate Record Keeping and Archiving. Head Office Camberra Act. www.towersoft.com.au.

 

Utulu, C. C. (2001) “Quality of University Education in Nigeria : Problems and Solution” Journal of the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management, Vol. 29 No. 1.