From the descriptions of SRMS and its features and functions in the preceding sections, we can see that a fully operational SRMS can produce many immediate benefits for school managers and edu- cation officers at the local and district level, as well as long-term benefits for policy, planning, coor- dination and monitoring at the provincial and national level.
In essence, systematic organized school record management helps:
- school managers to assess the performance and therefore the strengths and weaknesses of the school, so they can make informed decisions and easily respond to school censuses using reliable school data.
- the local government and members of the community to understand and support the functioning of the school.
- district and provincial education officers, and the central Ministry of Education to moni- tor and evaluate the performance of schools, to identify problems and issues and to establish policies, plans and measures to provide more appropriate guidance and support to schools.
- To provide documented evidences that future school managers can use to continuously improve the management of the school.
A good SRMS is one that fulfills the above expectations, and which enables systematic and reliable record- ing and updating of data and information. Such a system embodies mechanisms, procedures, tools and practices to record data and to keep them in organized storage for easy access, retrieval and use.
School records can, therefore, be used to assess: (a) how the school uses various resources to organize educational programmes and activities, (b) how such programmes and activities took place, and (c) what were the outcomes, issues and lessons learnt. Such information is important because it allows the school manager as well as education administrators at higher levels to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the school’s activities, and to improve future policies, planning, coordination and management of educational activities across the country.
Foremost among these beneficiaries are the school managers and school staff, including teachers. They need information on a daily basis in order to better plan, organize, conduct, evaluate and man- age school and class activities. They need frequent access to detailed and comprehensive data and information.
At the school level, some of the immediate benefits of a SRMS include:
- better monitoring and understanding of the situation and problems in the school over time.
- the ability to make more informed decisions to improve the functioning of the school.
- easy access to reliable information they need for reporting and responding to annual school censuses.
- the ability to inform local stakeholders and administrators at higher levels of the education system, and gain their support (see Figure 4 below).
The second group of beneficiaries are the education administrators at the district, provincial and central ministry levels. They need data and information about what is happening in the schools under their respective jurisdiction so they can identify the achievements, gaps and issues for better policy, planning, management and/or coordination of the education system from their respective levels. This second group may not need direct access to the detailed school records, but do require summary information from the annual school censuses and gathered from various school reports.
A third group of beneficiaries are the government officials, community leaders, parents and students in the local area, who benefit from having information about the school because it helps them to understand how the school operates and how they can help support it. This group includes mem- bers of the school management board and parents-teachers association. Summaries of relevant and reliable information can be produced using the SRMS and disseminated to them.
Information generated from school records can improve the accountability and credibility of the school management. By reporting and disseminating more complete and reliable information about the school to members of the school management board and/or parent-teachers association, local stakeholders will become aware of the achievements as well as the challenges faced by the school. in turn, they can help mobilize support from the local government, community and other development partners.
School records, therefore, constitute the most important source of data and information for ongoing and future management of schools. Systematic school record keeping will not only sup- port sound management of the school itself, but will also help to better inform local stakeholders as well as higher levels of the education administration to mobilize their support. Furthermore, proper school record keeping can greatly facilitate reporting to annual school censuses by providing sum- mary data that are based on solid source records to ensure the completeness and reliability of data. For non-governmental schools, school records are important for meeting government legal and fis- cal requirements. School records must, therefore, be designed taking these factors into account.
Discuss with your colleagues the implications, benefits and constraints in establishing an effective SRMS in your school, district, province or country, and then answer the following questions:
For school managers and staff:
- Do you agree with the benefits of SRMS described above? What other benefits might there be?
- In what way do you think your school can benefit from improved school records management? In which aspects of school management?
- What are the barriers or constraints that can prevent successful implementation of SRMS in your school? What can be done to address these constraints?
- After completing this training module, how do you plan to apply the knowledge in your school?
For district and local education officers and school inspectors:
- do you agree with the benefits of SRMS described above? What other benefits might exist at your level and for the schools in your area?
- in what way do you think the schools in your area can benefit from improved school records management? Which aspects of school management might benefit more?
- What are the barriers or constraints affecting the successful implementation of SRMS in the schools in your area? What can be done to address these constraints?
- After completing this training module, how do you plan to apply the knowledge in the schools in your area?
For central and provincial education administrators:
- do you agree with the benefits of SRMS described above? What other benefits might exist at your level?
- in what way do you think the schools in your country or province might benefit from improved school record management? Which aspects of school management might benefit more?
- What are the barriers and constraints affecting the successful implementation of SRMS in the schools in your country or province? What can be done to address these constraints?
- After completing this training module, how do you plan to apply the knowledge at your level and in the schools in your country or province?