Records management practices at the National University of Lesotho
Records management is that area of general administration that seeks to achieve efficiency and economy in the creation, maintenance and disposition of records by ensuring that records that are created are maintained efficiently and those that are no longer needed to support the current business of the organisation are disposed of at the expiry of agreed retention periods. It cannot be overstated that records are a vital asset in ensuring that an institution is governed effectively and efficiently and that its activities are open to public scrutiny. Poor records keeping gives room for corruption and other malpractices to flourish. Further, records support effective decision-making, provide evidence of policies, decisions, transactions and activities and support an organisation in cases of litigation. Most universities are continuously deploying integrated records management (paper records and electronic records) as a means of improving decision-making and the quality of service delivery. This study was conducted at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). The aim of the study was to assess record management practices at the NUL. This included finding out if there were a formal records management system and a formal records management policy, as well as the challenges faced by the NUL regarding records management. The study was guided by the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) International’s Information Governance Maturity Model. Data for the study were collected through the use of in-depth interviews with purposively selected key informants from the university. Content analysis of both local print and electronic media sources and the review of the relevant internal NUL documents such as policies and reports and general observations by the researchers constituted part of the data collection strategies. The key findings from the study were that the NUL records management programme operates within a weak legislative framework, and there is a lack of policies and procedures, a lack of adequate trained personnel and inadequate records preservation facilities. Based on these findings, the study recommends that the NUL formulates a campus-wide records management policy, enhances staff training in records management, and develops and embarks on a programme for managing both paper and electronic records.