Effective school administration and management:
Record keeping and school health services
Akintunde, P. G. (Ph.D)
Department of Vocational and Special Education
University of Calabar
Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
This paper intends to enlighten school administrators and teachers on the purpose and importance of supervision in general and supervision of school records specifically. Types of supervision and inspection and what to inspect are indicated. School admission register, log book, attendance register and its computation, consequential records and visitor’s book are well discussed. The purpose, importance, and significance of school records are discussed. The administration of the various records and those responsible for each record are explained. The paper stretches the implications of failure to administer each of the records to teachers, school administrator, student(s), school alumni and government. Conditions for effective record keeping and relationship between technology and record keeping are pointed out. The author drew his conclusion on record keeping.
Key words: importance of effective record keeping, implications of record keeping, record keeping and effective administration, effective administration and management of school.
The fact that peoples at all levels belief that standard of education has falling, an indication that education is in crisis, is enough food for thought for teaching profession. Many factors have been averred for this. The astronomical unceasing increase in educational demand has affected the demand for teachers. Accusing fingers from different quarters are pointed to teachers and bad school administration.
Unfortunately, many of our teachers are untrained and those we claimed to be trained or certificated teachers are mostly half baked. Studies have shown that many school administrators do not know those things expected of them and their limitation in administration of school, school responsibilities to staff, pupils/students and homes of the pupils/students, and are ignorance of the importance of those records and the implications of improper keeping of records (Oberleitner and Abowd 2007). The main problem is supervisory laxity on the part of education administrators (Akintunde, 2007).
Many of the delinquent behaviors in our schools have been attributed to improper keeping of school records and planning of school programme. The school curricular has also been faulted of lacking adequate substance that builds a whole man in our learners. Thus, this paper review literatures on record keeping to identify types of school records, their importance, their relationship to school inspection and the implication of failure to keep the records properly.
Supervision is an act of overseeing activity/people or watches over a particular task being carried out correctly by other people. With reference to school system, supervision/inspection is defined as all efforts of designated school officials towards providing leadership to teachers, other educational workers and students in the improvement of instruction.
According to Akintunde (2007), supervision involves the parents, teachers, departmental heads, principals/head teachers and inspectors of education or anybody vested with the power of inspection. Each of these groups of persons work separately and interdependently to transform the child into a finished “product”.
The role of supervisor is often stressful to the first comers to the hectic activities of management. It is better to develop the personnel along the line of supervision activities, gradually grooming them up for the responsibility.
Akintunde (2007) records that the Nigerian inspectorate division is charged with the responsibly of improving and ensuring quality control of education throughout the Federation by carrying out regular supervision of school, ensuring satisfactory academic standards and assessing the situation at first hand. Inspectors represent the Ministry of Education and keep the Ministry informed about happenings in schools.
Inspectors are advisers and friends who come to assist the school in every way they can, advising on various aspects of school life, participate in school activities, help teachers to see beyond their present performance, improve on it, solve problems, involved in organizing in-service training and school curriculum development, help in emergencies, help in disciplinary matters, and convey useful information about the school to the Ministry of Education. They are helpful partners in educational administration and should be used to the maximum.
The purpose of supervision
In the administrative dispensation of educational organization, all activities are directed towards the attainment of the goals of teaching and learning, and contribution towards the accomplishment of these goals is expected from all staff (professionals and nonprofessionals), parents and lay members of the community. Representing government are members of School Boards or Teaching Service Commission, Local Authorities, Inspectors – all of which are under Ministry of Education.
The goals are to promote orderliness, ensure that duties are executed appropriately, ensure that standard is maintained and correct mistakes. Supervision is also for the assessment of teachers for the performance of their professional duties, aim at helping teachers learn what their problems are and to seek the best methods of solving them, whether individual or group problems (Nwaogu, 1980). Therefore, teachers should be directed to:
- improve teaching methods and techniques,
- utilize newly discovered principle of group dynamics,
- provide for individual differences,
- locate and utilize community resources,
- evaluate their teaching competence,
- bring to awareness the effectiveness of classroom management,
- discover special abilities and qualities possessed by teachers,
- improve the incompetence’s of teachers,
- evaluate/appraise the performance of the teachers and the number of teachers recruited to teach, and
- determine teacher’s promotion and bring into conclusion teacher’s transfer from school, his retention or his dismissal from the job.
Types of Inspection
- Formal – are inspections that involve official notification from the inspectorate division to the institutions concern. It may be skeletal/casual supervision, spontaneous/comprehensive or full supervision.
- Informal – requires no official notification or information, it is usually a child of necessity/circumstance incidence and sheer coincidence/incidental inspection or verification of information.
What to supervise
There are many things to supervise. These include the school programme and resources, assessment of Principal, the Teachers, the non-academic staff, the students, the school plants (facilities and equipment), the school account, the school project, etc.
Schools records are highly necessary written information kept about the school activities and events, some are legally required while some are not but essential for smooth and effective school administration. This information must be made available when needed by designated authority, for example the inspectors of schools. Reasons for keeping these records include evaluation, orderliness, planning, administrative convenience, disciplining, grouping, continuity, revision, legal defense, etc.
These records should be kept up to date if an effective administration is to be achieved, maintained and sustained. Record keeping should be a primary priority regarded as a necessity by school (Nwaogu, 1980). When this is done the school authority, staff and students will have records to make reference to.
Oberleitner and Abowd (2007) rate keeping of records highly and suggest that parents should keep records of their wards. They were of opinion that keeping good records of their child’s behaviors, treatments, therapies, and educational experiences can help them and service providers make more effective services available.
Conditions for effective record keeping
The following conditions are attached to school records:
- Precise – records should be precise, direct and unambiguous.
- Honest – records should be honestly filled, reflecting the true picture of things, incidence and situation of things.
- Detail – records should be detailed, not missing vital points and information.
- Complete – records should give complete information, not cut off necessary information or clue to the information or investigation.
- Regular – information should flow without unnecessary break, sequence/regularly recorded without missing points.
- Available – records should be made available to appropriate quarters for inspection, research, evaluation and classification without secrecy, staff and stake holders (education inspectors, parents and students) or visitors should have access to the records relevant to their needs or information searching for.
Legal implication of school records
It is rather unfortunate that most school administrators lack the knowledge of “legal liability” as related to teaching. Legal liability is a legal responsibility for causing damage. A liability is an obligation expected of the school administrator/teacher and failure to meet up to the expectation put the person in question to a disadvantage. As in many professions the risks in teaching are many and most of them have legal implication as regards teachers’ responsibilities to learners. There are many things head of schools, class/subject teachers do that are not lawful and can result in legal tussle/crisis (Smissen, 1977). Administrators have either abuse or misuse their positions or guilty of immorality and professional misconduct many times. They escape the legal crisis that might have arisen from them because most parents re ignorant of their rights or their wards rights. Most of these acts can be grouped into:
- Negligence – On many occasions we are guilty of abandoning our duties as a teacher or administrator. Failure to take proper care or attention to duty expected of us can make us liable to legal suit. For example, giving learners assignment without supervision or allowing them to horse-play.
- Trespass – Illegal use of space or property that does not belong to school or legally authorized. Closeness to a property does not permit you to use the property/space unless permitted (either officially or on personal recognition) by the owner.
- False information/witness – Giving wrong information to deceive in any form is illegal. For example, the school register (class attendance) that is wrongly administered or marked, a learner is marked present when he was absent.
- Exploitation – There are so many illegal collections and exploitation in our schools which if legally taken up may make many school administrators and teachers loose their job. There are cases of teachers making illegal collection from learners even without the knowledge of the head of school, vis-à-vis head of schools. Any arrangement not supported or approved by the Ministry of Education or related bodies are illegal and punishable offence. Often time teachers send learners to run errant for them during school hours and even after school hour for their selfish end, at times to work in their farm; all these are illegal.
- Limitation – We often intrude into privacy of our staff as an administrator or into privacy of learners as a teacher. There are some things that are personal to individual at certain age or period that should not be the concern of the school especially domestic matters. Every individual has his/her official limitation in administration of school,
- Corporal punishment/severe punishments – This is mostly abused in schools, most of which are not recorded or handle with levity. Many teachers are cane carrier in school; they can not walk in school without holding cane. Injurious punishments are illegal and unpermitted. Punishment such as dismissal or suspension needs approval of the Ministry of Education or its representative.
- Unskillfulness – Most of our teachers are half baked or unskillful, hence they are hardly competent and hardly impact knowledge to learners. A learner believes whatever he is taught and acquired wrong knowledge is difficult to erase. Therefore, competence and specialization should be a priority in subject allocation.
TYPES OF SCHOOL RECORDS
School records can be categorized into statutory records, essential teaching/instructional records, personal records and other school records.
The statutory records are required to be kept in the school by law. These are:
a) Register of admission, progress and withdrawal,
b) School log book,
c) Visitors’ book,
d) Register of day attendance,
e) School time table,
f) Corporal punishment book,
g) Class time table,
h) Scheme of work/approved syllabus,
i) Teachers weekly dairies of all the work done,
j) Teachers’ lesson notes,
k) School account books,
l) Copy of education law,
m) Inspection report file, and
n) Copy of National Policy on Education.
Register of admission, progress and withdrawal
It is a statutory record that contains details of each child education and progress, a permanent record of membership legally documented. A public record made available for scrutiny or inspection by authorized persons such as school inspector, police officers on official duty and even court on demand. Each child is given a serial number (matriculation number in tertiary institutions) as admission number, kept as his number throughout his/her stay in school and after he/she might have left for at least ten (10) years. It tells the full story of membership of a school by a child from his/her entry to exist.
The entries into this register include the admission numbers of each pupil/student, names and addresses of their parents/guardians, students progress report on yearly basis, and if the student is no longer in school the reason for leaving the school should be stated. All entries must be made in ink (typed now that computer is in vogue) and any alteration or erasure should be signed by the officer making the entries. If any correction must be made, there should be no erasure, rather the old entries should be neatly canceled and initialed and so the new entry that replaces the cancelled one. Entries should be brought to date. There is nothing like temporary admission.
Admission register keeps a historical document that contains comprehensive details of the personal and academic background of the students. If a child’s name is missing in the admission register, it means that such child is not legally enrolled in the institution and has not studied in the institution. It confers full membership of the institution on the child in addition to all the rights, privileges, duties sand obligations attached.
Significance and concept of membership
The fact that a registered child becomes a bonafide member of the institution has many legal implications for the child and the school. His/her official legal admission has a vital implication on the educational planning and finance of education at the local, state and Federal level.
A registered child is entitled to full right and privilege to receive formal education in the school where he/she is admitted. Membership concept makes it mandatory to perform all the duties and obligations he/she owes the school, obeying all the rules and regulations of the school and liable to punishment if he/she breaks any of them and entitled to any reward or recognition normally extended to those found worthy of receiving them from the school.
The concept of “in loco parentis” controls the relationship between the child, his/her teachers and other school authorities. The membership of a child into the school has brought in the child’s parents into a social contract (written and unwritten) with the school, parents willing to cooperate with the school personnel in the education of their child. This should be understood by both the school and the parents.
The admission of a child into a school has an historical and planning fact which influences policy formulation and implementation in education. A child admission is an additional responsibilities such as funding of school, provision of infrastructural facilities and equipment, and the supply of teachers not only for an individual school, but for transition from one level of education to another; and ultimately up to employment market and manpower planning, training and utilization.
Importance and implication of admission register are many:
- serves as a historical record or reference (for school and students) with detailed records on every child who was admitted into the school right from the year it was established;
- a reference book, the entry, progress and exist of any student admitted into the school can be traced;
- information source on a student as regards his/her personal or family background;
- a reference book on the student’s performance for placement, counseling, guidance and recommendation;
- a vital document to settle a legal controversies or claims;
- data for research;
- data for school planning and administration at various level of educational system;
- data for planning and allocation of financial aid for educational development; and
- a vital document indicating old students of the school in formation of ALUMNI association.
The Admission Register For Junior Secondary Schools
Government has rules and regulations on class size, school size, teacher-pupils ratio and the likes and schools are bound to obey them. When the permissible limit is reached or deadline for new admission and transfer is passed, the head-teacher stops admitting and registering new students.
Note: There is no time when it can be said that the admission register is closed. As each qualified child presents himself/herself new entries are made and completed there and then, until the next qualified one turns up, provided room exists for such one. It is the prerogative of the head-teacher and his/her staff to determine the capacity of the school facilities and dormitories, classrooms, libraries, laboratories, etc. are criteria to determine the maximum student population for each class, and for the school as a whole.
The admission register as a dynamic and vital record on pupils/students should be updated as the child progresses including promotional examination results through the school from year to year until he/she graduates. The date a child leaves the school and the reason for leaving should be recorded. Conventionally if a child is absent in school for a period of four or more weeks, he/she is deemed to have voluntarily withdrawn from the school without reason. However the school authority should find out from the child, his/her parents/guardians or other sources reasons for his/her prolonged absence and counsel given where necessary. If parents/guardians indicate their intention to withdraw the child from school, the school should insist that their request be put into writing.
The school authority should not be careless with the record, ensure it’s save keep, putting it under lock and key even if he/she has delegated his/her assistance to handle it. Only authorized person(s) should have access to it.
The log book
School log book contains important records of events that have significant effects on school activities. It accommodates only events that have impacts on the school activities (factual and limited to what is absolutely necessary), be inside or outside the school. Any event (riot/public holiday) that has vital impact on the population/daily routine of the school should be recorded. Just like the school admission register it should be treated as confidential and be kept in a safe place under lock and key. It is an historical book that can be summarized or broaden as the history of the school. When a log book is full, it should be kept in a safe place and new log book open for continuity.
It records the date the school was opened, information on the head-teacher and his/her staff, movement of teachers (transfer in or out), important staff meeting or emergency meeting, first public examination in the school, awards given to the school or her representatives, visit of inspectors and dignitaries, changes from the normal; school day including any disruptions and reasons thereof, death, etc. Events should be recorded when it is fresh, so as not to omit vital information.
Records in the log book should be legibly written, well arranged in sequential order, indicating the date and time of event with a gap before another is recorded. The arrangement should be such that each academic year should start with a new page for clarity. The pages should be serially numbered. A hard covered log book with lock and key is suitable for confidentiality.
As a confidential record the head teacher is solely responsible for the save keep (from fire, termites, theft and unauthorized person) of the log book and should not be delegated in any way. In the interest of accurate record keeping events should be faithfully recorded without fair or favor, both the good and bad events connected with the school should be recorded. On no account must it be used as instrument of oppression of staff.
The attendance register
It is commonly called class attendance register, a specially designed book for recording the presence and absence of pupils/students on daily basis, summarized on daily and weekly basis and the overall summary done at the end of the term. It is a document meant for a class only. It has to be marked twice (morning and afternoon) with ink by each class teacher or whoever is delegated to do so. On no account should a student be delegated to mark the attendance register. A student admitted into a school is expected to be present for instruction everyday (except on weekend and public holidays). The attendance register is a means of monitoring their presence. Attendance refers to the physical presence of a student in the class while enrolment implies the number of active students on the register.
The attendance register if properly administered indicate the frequency and punctuality of pupils/students in the school. It is a guide for the class teacher to know when to contact parents of a truant pupil/student, how to counsel, and when to report case of abnormalities of absence of any pupil or student.
.Attendance register is mandatory by law. There can be no school without students; the teacher and the school stand in “loco parentis” to the students under their care. Whatever happens to the child during school hours is a major responsibility of the school. Therefore the school must keep track of the students under its care.
Marking of the register over a period of time enables the teacher to know those who are regular and punctual, those frequently absent and the late comers. The information will elicit the peculiar problems of each student, can be used to predict the students and to take certain administrative decisions (e.g. selection of prefects) relating to the students.
The introduction of continuous assessment has necessitated that a student should meet up to 75% attendance in order to be promoted. This is only possible if the attendance register is properly handled.
The attendance register provides data for research, planning, and official use in the Ministry for grant or scholarship or any other assistance to the school. The marking of the register can save a school a lot of embarrassment if it gets involves in legal tangle. The marking of the attendance register twice is a way of protecting the school from the likely problems truant and delinquent students can cause the school.
A SECTION OF ATTENDANCE REGISTER
The table above is explanatory enough. Names should be written in alphabetic order without gender discrimination; the column for sex has covered this. The register should reflect the full name of the student in order to give full identity to the child. The column for handicability and fresher/repeater are useful for the teacher to know the peculiarity of each child’s problem and how to help him/her. This will also remove misplace of identity where initials are the same.
To complete the register
The following are the symbols in use:
Symbol Colour Meaning
Black/Blue Present in the morning
/ Black/Blue Present in the Afternoon
Red Late in the Morning
/ Red Late in the Afternoon
0 Black/Blue Absent
00 Black/Blue Withdrawal after original entry.
Withdrawal could be official (when permission is sought) or unofficial (when permission is not sought). If before the close of a session, one discovers that a child is no longer in the school, he/she should be marked as having withdrawn. Withdrawal should not be counted when computing attendance for the day or week rather it should be indicated in the column for it in the register.
A child is regarded as late if he/she arrives after the roll call but before the end of the first period morning or afternoon session. If he comes after the first period, he is regarded as absent for the session. This does not warrant sending him/her back home, rather he/she should be allowed to join others in the class. The red ink distinguishes those who are punctual and the late comers. This is necessary for class control and for ensuring that pupils/students are under regular instruction.
As in admission register, the attendance register should not be erased, mistake should be circled/crossed out neatly and the correct symbol written beside it and initial. Erasing any part of the document gives room for doubt on its genuiness and accuracy. When the school is on holiday for whatever reason, the days should be crossed out neatly by drawing vertical thin lines across the space in the register. If the period extends for up to a week or more, the word HOLIDAY could be written boldly across the space. The reason for the closure should be written in the log book.
Marking and keeping of the attendance register is the responsibility of the class teacher and should not be delegated. Falsification of record is a serious offence in law and can put both the school authority and the teacher into a serious trouble.
The head teacher has the responsibility of ensuring that the register is marked and kept properly by conduct periodic check on the marking of the register even if he/she has delegated his/her assistance to check the register. He/she has his/her role to play every week, there is column for him/her to sign every week on the register. As the head, he/she is responsible for any problem arising from the mistake or abuse of the register and cannot exonerate himself/herself.
Computation of the register
The total number of the students present in the class at the end of every session should be indicated and the numerical value entered in the register in the appropriate place. The summation for the weeks should also be recorded in the appropriate column. Example, an hypothetical situation where the total number of students in a class is 30, and all of them were present both in the morning and afternoon sessions throughout the week; the total expected and actual attendance for that week will be 30 x 5 = 150 for morning session and 150 for afternoon session. The total expected and actual attendance for that week will then be 300.
Percentage attendance = Actual attendance ÷ Expected attendance × 100
= 300 ÷ 300 × 100 = 100%
The total attendance of each child at the end of every term should also be summed up and recorded in the column for it. The sum is carried over to the second and third terms and the addition of all these gives the total attendance of each child during the school year. The teacher is required to work out the percentage attendance for the week, for the term and for the year. The computation procedure follows the same pattern as above.
All school records complement one another and none can hardly be treated in isolation. Most records require information from some other records in order to be understood fully. In the case of the attendance register, the following records are germane to its proper completion as they provide vital information which complements its own:
Admission register– That is where information relating to the child’s admission number and age will be obtained for insertion into the attendance register.
Subject attendance register – It records the attendance of a child at subject classes. It is possible to mark a child absent for a day in the class attendance register but if he was present for a subject in the class the subject attendance register will indicate the time he/she came for the lesson. Thus, complementing the information in the attendance register if some issues arise on the matter.
Fees register – This provides information on the fees paid by the students which have to be inserted in the appropriate column in the attendance register. By law a child is not regarded as a bona fide student of a school until he/she has met all requirements, one of which is the payment of prescribed fees where applicable.
The visitors’ book
This book contains information on the names, addresses of all important personalities that have come to visit the school. The book is to be given to all important/distinguished people that are on visit to the school for them to record the purpose of their visit.It has to be kept on the table of the administrator and be kept handy in order not to forget it when distinguished visitors called.
Building and works files
Buildings and works files relate mainly to an individual school or school buildings (e.g. new building, accommodation for the teachers, repairs, renovations, etc). The file can contain correspondence from teachers, the education department, parents, inspectors, and tradesmen.
Register and record of service for both teaching and non-teaching staff.
It contains records of summary of standard of the school.
They are records of punishment (reprimand, caning, etc) melted out to students. They reflect the name of the student, the date, the amount and instrument of punishment, by who administered and additional remarks.
Teachers’ time book
This reflects the arrival of each teacher to school/duty post and the closing time. It also discloses how punctual they are to school or how frequent they report for duty. This record may however be manipulated if it is not strictly administered.
Student report card
This is the record of academic performance of the student which consist of both continuous assessment and performance in examination. The continuous assessment includes physical, mental and social progress of the child.
Technology and record keeping
Oak (2010), states that technological advancements have made society take a leap towards success. He explained that the administrative process, the official procedures of school can be simplified by technology. School records, the information about all the students, teachers and other school employees can efficiently be maintained by means of advanced technology. Data can be stored in the school database. The attendance records of both teachers and students can be maintained by means of a student database.
Record keeping should not be activities meant for inspection days alone, rather it should be made a regular habit to be maintained and sustained in schools. This is an era of Internet Communication Technology (ICT) when records can be easily stored and kept for a long time and even be transfer or distributed and kept in various files in our computers (soft and hard wears). Let record keeping become our cherish culture.
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Nwaogu, J. I. (1980), A Guide to Effective Supervision of Instruction in Nigeria Schools.
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Smissen, V. D. (1977), Legal Liabilities of Cities and Schools for Injuries in Recreation and
Parks, 4th ed. New York: Anderson Publishing Co.
Oberleitner, Ron and Abowd, Gregory (2007), The importance of record keeping. April 6,
Oak, Manali (2010), Importance of technology in schools. 2000-2009, 2010 buzzle.com