In this series, NANCY EKPEZU writes about the management of school information. School owners, principals, head teachers and other echelon of the school administration process would find this piece on school information management useful.
One of the observations I have made from my experience as a school administrator and through my interaction with numerous schools in our clime, is that sadly, there is a huge room for improvement in our record keeping or with the way school information is managed.
This article is aimed at informing us about various school records and documents which should be managed in schools as well as how to go about it. It is imperative that information is managed properly as this can make or mar an organisation. We have all probably had the all too familiar experience where we visit a school for the purpose of making enquiries, only to meet the staff members confused, telling a lie, giving wrong information, or everyone goes scurrying all over the place looking for documents that could contain the required information.
Nobody is sure of who used the file last, or if the information was stored in the files in the first instance. This sort of embarrassment can be avoided with proper school information management.
We’ll start by defining information as knowledge that is communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance. Information is that which informs; an answer to a question of some kind. Information must be accurate, timely, accessible, current, relevant and useful in decision making. It should also be concise and easy to understand.
There is a strong need to keep accurate information in a school since information is useful for customer satisfaction, decision making, for smooth school management process and for research and development.
Having defined information, we need to state that information management refers to the systems and processes within an organisation for the creation and use of corporate information. Proper information management enables the right decisions and actions at the right time based on current information.
Information management involves managing verbal information, hard or printed copies as well as soft or electronic copies of information in a timely and efficient manner. In a school, like any other organisation, information is of little use if it arrives late to the people who need it.
Important School Records
The following are some of the important records which a school should have:
- Students files
- Statutory records such as the school’s curriculum, various approvals and registration records for the school- Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) papers, registration materials with the Ministry of Education
- Teachers records- class registers, diaries, incident reports
- Staff files
- Policies and procedures- employee handbooks, student/parent handbook, boarding house handbook
- Reports from committees or staff members
- Inventories and stocks
- Parents database (emails addresses, phone numbers, physical residence addresses)
- Students class lists
- Incoming correspondence
- Outgoing correspondence
- School admission and registration materials
- Staff performance appraisal records
- Visitors Book
Why we need to keep school records
No school can function efficiently without properly kept school records. Proper information management helps to build confidence in the parents about your school’s operations.
It gives the staff peace of mind, helps to avoid confusion and disorder and shows your school’s level of professionalism.
It also leads to profitability as poor record keeping can lead to a loss in your organisation helps you monitor your stocks and inventories and shows transparency.
Good record keeping also serves as a point of reference for future decisions and helps you in planning and goal getting.
Ways of Passing Information in Schools
Depending on the school and the types of parents available, the following are some means of disseminating information:
- Bulk sms to parents or staff
- Newsletters (e-copies and hard copies)
- Video calls
- Phone calls
- School websites
- School Year Books and other publications
- Social media (Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Skype, YouTube, Instagram)
- Radio announcements
Admin as the Information Engine Room
It must be emphasised that the Admin office is the engine room for information flow in the school. Information flows from the Admin office to the students, parents, staff, vendors and other stakeholders, hence the need to always have up to date information so as not to give misleading information.
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