Universities generate and hold a lot of records, the key being personnel records, finance records, administrative records, publications and student records which carry the bulk of university records.
Record management in higher learning institutions is yet to be given its place. The core business being academic, record management is a support function which is not recognised only remembered when it’s about audit or inspection time by institutions in charge of ensuring universities adhere to set standards. The negligence has paused several challenges to managing university records among them being no set records department. Each department keeps its own records therefore those records do not undergo records life cycle nor are record management principles observed.
For the few universities that have set up record management department there is paucity of staff that manage records, and in most cases no budget is allocated to record management therefore few staff, inadequate storage facility well accompanied with lack of knowledge of the best storage facilities for records which pauses insecurity and damage to records in subject.
People given the role of managing university records are mostly not record management professionals as a result of records management being perceived as clerical work that can be assigned to anyone which adds insult to records management.
The few record professionals managing university records report to supervisors who do not have idea about the function which brings in conflict and misunderstanding. Records professionals ideas for better records status for the university have no one to grant them which as a result most university records are a blink away from total loss as majority have not backed up their records both the physical and electronic ones. Projects of backing up records either through digitization or cloud hosting require support from all parties involved in record management and uncompromised support from management.. In case a disaster strikes; fire, floods, most universities would agree to losing without means of reclaiming or tracing back their records.
Loosing university records means loosing the whole cooperate memory of the given institution which provide history of the institution as well as evidence of institution transactions. will be lost and the blame back to record management professionals’, this gives them low morale at work as there is no motivation and in most cases low remuneration.
University management is yet to embrace management of records. Each department keeping its own records but no record management in it result to cases of loss of records, inauthenticity of academic records however it’s all done with knowledge and interest as streamlining will ensure security of records, authenticity and integrity thus conflict of interest.
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(A story by a Records Management Officer in a Local University in Kenya)