The use of ICTs in the management and safe keeping of students records should become the order of the day as it has many benefits in the academic and university cycle, as it is providing timely access and easy retriever of student information. This study investigated the use of ICTs for students records management in Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. A descriptive survey research design was adopted and questionnaire was used for data collection. The sample of the study was drawn from the population through multi-stage sampling whereby five (5) faculties were randomly selected and thereafter a total sample size of 120 questionnaire were retrieved and analyzed using tables, percentages, mean, standard deviation and frequency counts. Findings show that ICTs are available and accessible to records managers as they use it to store students records such as the students results (Summary sheets) 100% and student transcripts (100%). Finally, it was revealed that epileptic power supply (100%) and poor maintenance culture (98%) are the major challenges hindering the use of these ICTs by records managers in the university. It was recommended that the university and governing bodies should provide constant electricity to enable records managers use the available ICTs, it was also recommended that the value of proper maintenance culture be taught in the university.
Word Count: 238
Keywords: Information communication technology, students records, ICT facilities, record management.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents……………………………………………………………….…..vii
Education is one of the most important needs for the well being of individual and that of the society. Thus, education is a powerful instrument of social, political and economic progress, without which neither an individual nor a society can attain professional growth. Education is very vital to the peace of social, political, cultural, technological and economic development of any nation. This is the reason why most nations of the world allocate a proportion of their gross national income to the development of their educational sector. The university is the citadel of education in any nation. According to Adekigbe (2005) defines a university as a place of enlightenment, a place for exploring the frontiers, and an institution in which people through the process of socialization, are imbued with ability, not just to discern things but also to apply for theories to explain events, values, the knowledge of the natural order for the pursuits of the common good and the individual well-being.
Becta (2008) defined ICT as technology that is used to process, store, transmit, communicate, create or exchange information. In order words, ICT is the computing and communication facilities in education. In the course of this research, ICT refers to the technical systems that receive, manipulate process and store data. It facilitates student data management. Lyman (2004) says organizations and academic institutions have adopted the use of ICT in order to cope with the ever increasing information generated within the organizations.
One major observation during the early stages of university education in Nigeria was the little emphasis on the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT). Computers were in short supply to the institutions where they were available, they were the old types of computers, Akpota(1999). As institutions where knowledge is generated, universities have enormous roles to play in solving individuals and societal problems. There are many desirable attributes of ICT each of them concerns the effective provision of information to the recipient. These include the relevance for intended purpose, accuracy, factual, volume of details and presentation of information, Adegun (2002).
The term management according to Adejumo (2000) involves planning and innovation, coordination and supervision as well as undertaking risks and handling uncertainty. He also argued that management is the activity of working with people in an organization in accomplishing results. The scarce resources include people, money, materials and time. Of all these, human beings are the most important, because the effectiveness with which they are used determines the quality of result produced by other resources.
According to Iwhiwhu (2009; 1), he states that ICT has transformed the way in which organizations store and manage information. Lyman (2004) also states that organizations today have adopted the use of ICT in order to cope with the ever increasing information generated within the organization.
The introduction of ICT in the management of students academic records in universities could become an antidote in providing effective solutions to staff personnel and student personnel problems that otherwise would have been difficult if not impossible. Commenting on the relevance of students data to the university institution, Nwosu (2003) noted that for educational development, personnel, educational planners and administrators need to have adequate and accurate data of students’ enrolment and students school records through the use of ICT for effective planning and management of the university educational system. There is no doubt therefore, that the management of universities has become more complex, hence, its management demands more from the administrators. The enormous rise in the number of students in the universities as well as the multiplicity of programmes have made university personnel to handle a very large quantity of data which must be accessed speedily in order to provide information for the university administration, NUC and Ministry of Education for effective management and decision-making processes. Hence, the use of ICT in the management of universities becomes more imperative.
The need for and importance of educational records cannot be over emphasized. Besides the fact that they guarantee continuity in the school system, records contain the information policy makers and educational students learning can be evaluated in many different ways, but in a developing country like Nigeria, where about 40 percent of the adult population are illiterate, parents use the performance of their children in public examinations to pass judgment on schools and its teachers. Records are also used during school inspection exercises with a view to making judgment about the school and providing appropriate recommendations for improvement. Testimonials and academic transcripts of graduates/students often demanded by employees and other higher institutions (in and outside Nigeria) can only be made available through accurate records.
It would 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 governments, 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 do not seem to have helped the situation because much because the record management system is still conventionally paper-based and manual in operation(Akor and Udensi, 2013).
Fasasi (2004) holds that school records could enhance managerial duty performances in the areas of planning for resource acquisition and utilization of student and staff personnel services, financial management, improvement of instructional programme, and maintenance of effective inter personal relationship with the community and external agencies. On a general note, people who make up an institution have the tendency to exhibit more appropriate behavior when they know that records about them are kept, Akube (1991) and this in no small measure, enhances progress and order in the institution.
Record keeping occupies a strategic position in the efficient and effective management of the university system. In fact, it is central in the administration of institutions of learning 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 the administrative documentations (Igwoku, 2008). Generally, record keeping must be guided by some level of confidentiality, proper maintenance, security, preservation of the content and context, etc (Iwhiwhu, 2007).
Furthermore, (Nwankwo,2000) identified level of training of personnel in records keeping offices as inhibitive to proper records management. He who identified poor infrastructure undefined policy gap and a poor awareness base as reasons for a poor records management in tertiary institutions. There must be a conscious effort to plan records retrieval to eradicate the problem of document retrieval. (Longe, 2001) describes a plan as a series of actions that have future consequences. Plans have time frames (Akangbou,2003).
Asogwa(2004) noted that data which arise from the execution of legitimate functions of schools should be properly managed and secured. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in most institutions as Omenyi(1997) observed. According to Afolabi(1991) and Egwuyenga(2009), records management in Nigeria is plagued by such factors as inadequately skilled and experienced management personnel, lack of sufficient funds and the placement of records management in a low priority pedestal in relation to other things. These problems have eaten deep into records management practice in Nigerian Universities. In addition, archaic record-keeping methods and technology plus poor data storage facilities can be listed.
The field of records management has over the past two decades undergone great advancements and this is due to the emergence of modern information communication technology, Azad (2008). It is widely accepted (though not fully appreciated) that the integration of ICT in organizational functions is necessary for increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness.
Adeyemi and Olaleye (2010) opined that the application of ICT is necessary in the collection of student data, recording of student results, and for effective keeping of students’ records. Records management involves the creation, storage, retrieval, maintenance, disposition and the use of compact and other manual or electronic means. Presently, findings show that records are poorly managed in Nigeria Universities thereby posing a lot of challenges.
Popoola (2003) therefore noted that records management services in Nigeria Universities is facing major crises. Alegbeleye (1993) sees records and information management as an all embracing activity which includes form control, correspondence control reports inventory and appraisal records retention and disposition, archives management and control and reprography.
Daramola (1995) writes that records are classified as follows;
- Reference Records: policy records which must be possessed by a school which contains Government policies, decisions of governing council, and procedures on funding and moral code.
- Administrative Records: this includes records of great visits, events, annual enrolment of students and records of personnel that have served and still serving in an organization.
- Academic Records: includes records of curriculum issues, facilities, and equipment for teaching learning guidelines for the introduction of new academic programs and students’ academic records.
However, Olaitan (1995) is of the view that university records are classified into phases;
- Primary Records- these are kept in the office of the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor, directors/controller of different programmes, librarian, registrar and the bursar.
- Secondary Records- these are kept in the academic and administrative department office
- Tertiary Records- this involves records of supervisors and other officers.
Records are important in decision making, planning and in general administration of a university. Mazikana (1996) puts it that records are indispensable tools for determining the quantity and mix of human and material resources in any organization. When the creation of records is not properly managed, attainment of goals and objectives become a problem. These may manifest in difficulty in locating papers/information, bulky files, wrong filing, wrong titles of files and having offices clustered with papers and files, Popoola (2003).
This is why Popoola (2003) noted that there are problems on records creation in Nigerian Universities. Saying that the main problem is the effective creation and control of records as records are the greatest consumers of funds, space and equipment among other service activities in the university system. Accurate and up-to-date records are required to ensure equity, fair-play and justice both in the award of graduation prizes to students and in the promotion, retirement and replacement of school staff. Moreover, researchers in education who write papers and contribute to knowledge for the improvement of education rely to a large extent on school records for consultation.
Nwagwu (1995) observes that Nigeria does not have a developed record keeping culture in the educational system. But records should be adequately stored and preserved for easy reference and retrieval. Record keeping enables the school administrators to know the academic and general progress of students and also report to their parents or guardians when necessary and to inform employers who may require certain information for their employment when out of school.
According to Popoola (1999), creation of records involves collecting basic data about records and their volume; physical form location, physical condition, storage facilities, rule of accumulation and use, and similar information for the purpose of planning, retention, disposition microfilming operations and related archival activities. When the creation of records is not properly managed, attainment of goals and objectives become a problem. Ayodele (2004) opined that in records maintenance, red- tapism hinders proper maintenance with emphasis on rules and regulation which eventually delay repair and maintenance.
It has been observed that using ICT will help promote on issues relating on students records and transcript, examination records, teaching, research and communicating services, Abe and Adu (2007). It has also been observed that the monitoring and evaluation of staff, physical planning, curriculum development, financial management and information dissemination will increase the efficiency of the universities if information communication and technology facilities are adequately and properly utilized, Lawsent and Vincent Loncrin (1995); Foray(2004) and Omirin (2007). Thus in developing countries including Nigeria, it’s no longer a question of whether universities should invest in ICTs (OECD, 2005).
The purpose of this study therefore to investigate the availability and utilization of Information Communication Technology in the effective management of student’s academic records in some selected faculties at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
The fact that educational records are very vital in the management of educational institutions, it is disheartening to observe that many Nigerian Universities do not take record keeping seriously and most of their essential records are badly stored and are not properly secured. As a result of this, cases of lost or misplaced documents as well as butchered or incomplete files become a common occurrence in these institutions. This is a bane of the Nigerian higher educational system as not only does it impair the smooth, effective and efficient running of the schools, but grossly affects staff and students who often need such records for important purposes.
This study therefore examines the challenges surrounding the use of ICTs in students’ records management in Ambrose Alli University and to determine the role and impact Information Communication Technology has on the effective management of students records at Ambrose Alli University. This study is aimed at enabling record managers see the importance and effectiveness of using ICTs in keeping students records and also assist them in making valid contributions to the challenges they encounter.
The major objective of this study is to find out the possible use of ICTs for Students Records Management, using Ambrose Alli University as a case study. To achieve this, the following specific objectives were formulated;
- Investigate if students’ academic records are kept in Ambrose Alli University using ICTs.
- Find out the type of ICTs used for keeping students records
- Examine the effectiveness of ICT use in students records keeping
- Find out the benefits derivable from using ICTs for keeping students records
- Examine the challenges facing the use of ICTs for keeping students records.
- What are the student’s academic records kept at Ambrose Alli University using ICTs?
- What are the types of ICTs used for keeping students records?
- How effective is the use of ICT in the keeping of students’ records?
- What are the benefits derived from using ICTs for students’ record keeping?
- What are the challenges facing the use of ICTs in the keeping of students records?
The study will be limited to investigating the use of ICTs in the keeping of students records in Ambrose Alli University
This study is based on the premise that the management of students’ records in Nigerian universities is not efficient. It is hoped that this study will illuminate the state areas of record-keeping in the universities and also create awareness on how to use ICTs in students’ records management more effectively with less stress. University staff, students and graduates will not be left out as they will begin to enjoy the blessings of getting required records in their accurate form and within a small space of time.
This study is expected to enlighten and broaden the knowledge of Head of Departments, Exam Officers, Secretaries, Higher Executive Officers’, Faculty Officers about the importance of the use of ICT in Students records management, how it can reduce difficulty associated with manual records, speed up operations, provide timely information to information seekers. This study will be of immense help to researchers who wish to carry out further investigation on related issues. It is hoped that the study will be an invaluable contribution to the only small amount of work that has been done on the lingering issue of students’ record management and that it will provoke more researchers which will largely draw more attention to this important subject.
The main limitation of this research work is that it focuses on selected faculties of the Ambrose Alli University hence its results cannot be used to evaluate records management system at other university.
- INFORMATION: the knowledge gained through communication research and observation that helps us in our daily lives.
- ICT: the tools used in handling, processing, storage and retrieving information.
- RECORDS: a piece of evidence about the past; the sum of the past achievements or performance of a person, organization or thing.
- STUDENT RECORDS: these are records that are directly related to students or a student.
- RECORD MANAGEMENT: the act of managing records.
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