Records management in the ministry of general education: a case study of the district education board secretary’s office (DEBS), Lusaka district, Zambia.

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Nsofu, Mukupa Annie
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The University of Zambia
One of the challenges that the Lusaka District Education Board Secretary‟s (DEBS) office has been facing is misplacement of teachers‟ files. Teachers, who went for document verification and processing, complained of time wasting in the location and retrieval of their records. The time that a teacher spent at the District Education Board Secretary‟s (DEBS) office resulted in reduced productivity on the part of the teacher concerned because such a teacher would not be in class teaching. This study therefore aimed at identifying drivers of poor record keeping and management at the DEBS office and come up with recommendations that would lead to improvements in record management. Both probability and non – probability sampling approaches were used. The probability (random) sampling was used to select 40 respondent teacher from four schools in Lusaka District. The non – probability (systematic) sampling was used to select the eight registry staff at DEBS office and one Human Resource Officer from the same office. The research established that the DEBS‟s Registry office is staffed with unqualified Registry Clerks. The personnel in-charge of managing records did not have relevant qualifications and competencies in record management. They were learning the skill on the job and in the process, a lot of mistakes in record management could be expected from such ill qualified personnel. The Registry did not also have a copy of the Record Management Policy and the Registry Service until September, 2018. This made it difficult for the personnel to follow the Guiding Principles stipulated in the policy as regards efficiency, accessibility, confidentiality and protection of files. In addition, the registry did not also have the Registry Service Manual used for classification, indexing, and numbering of official mail/ papers in government departments. This also led to misfiling, misclassification and difficulties in retrieving files. In the face of the established challenges, it was recommended that DEBS office migrates from manual paper filing system to electronic record management system. This would improve the efficiency in handling public records. The registry personnel should also be trained in record management while considering decentralising record management to zones.
Records management. , Records management practices.