THE IMPORTANCE OF RECORDS/RECORD KEEEPING IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Record according to Fund and Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary is an account in writing or other permanent form; serving as a memorial or authentic evidence of facts or event. In other words, it is regarded as information handed down or preserved for future use.
Mbiti (1978) sees school records as comprising all the books, files or other documents containing information relating to what goes on in the school, who is in the school as well as what type of property the school owns.
In school administration, record keeping and management of records is one of the important responsibilities of the school head. To effectively manage human and material resources in relation to issues of school policies and the day to day running of the school, the school administrator relies on the information on records. The pattern of record keeping is a life cycle which begins with creation, storage, retrieval, retention and of course disposition of the records.
The importance of school records and proper keeping of such records which facilitate future retrieval in school administration cannot be over emphasized. It is worth mentioning some of the very important school records before stating their importance in school administration. These records include:
The School Diary
Note of Lesson
Syllabus and Scheme of Work
Terminal Report Cards
Staff Time Book
The School Time-table
Staff Minutes Book
Health Records Book etc.
Nwankwo and his colleagues (1981) highlighted the importance of records keeping as follows:
- PROVISION OF USEFUL INFORMATION: This serves as source of relevant information about a past pupil who was once in the school and now requires information about his past performance by his/her employees. The pupil’s record will now form the basis for written report that the school head might give.
- GUIDIANCE/COUNSELOR: The pupil’s academic records also form the bedrock on which the guidance/counsellor shall offer professional advice in relation to the academic performance of the pupil.
- USEFUL HELP FOR DECISION MAKING: The availability of records in the school makes it possible for the school head to make important decisions about the pupil or a situation at a given time.
- HELPS TO ENSURE ACCOUNTABILITY: The cash and stock book are sources of useful information about income and expenditure which keeps the school head on the track of being accountable.
- PROVIDES DATA: Accurate records in a school system provides information about the inflow of pupils and their age distribution, year of admission, information about parents, condition of the pupil when admitted etc.
- INSPECTION/SUPERVISION: The availability of well-kept records enhances smooth and easy school inspection or supervision as the case may be and provides relevant facts for promotion or appraisal of staff.
- EVENTS: School records show important events that took place in the school. It also shows the visitors that were in the school on a particular day and what their mission was.
- LEGAL BACKING: Proper record keeping can be a legal document in case of eruption of problems in the school. For instance, the attendance register shows clearly whether or not a pupil is in the school on a particular day or not.
- FACILITATE THE MOVEMENT OF PUPIL: Accurate and comprehensive records facilitate the movement of pupil from one school to another. In his book educational administration, planning and supervision. Atidoko E opines that data contained in records on pupils will help the pupil, teacher and school head of the new school when there is movement.
To sum up then, it is evident that records and proper record keeping in school bring about efficiency, hard work and effective delivery of service.