Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Enhancing the Relevance of Secretarial Staff in the University System

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Enhancing the Relevance of Secretarial Staff in the University System

Article excerpt

Abstract

The concern of this paper is the need for all secretarial staffwho are privileged to secure employment in the university (an institution known all over the world as the citadel of learning) to enhance their relevance not just to retain their jobs but to contribute maximally in the attainment of university goals and objectives and enjoy job satisfaction and self fulfillment. Keywords in the topic are clarified, the university system and determinants of the quality of university training highlighted. Several indices of workers' relevance are discussed to draw the attention of the audience to practical issues in work performance. The paper further outline attributes of a good secretarial staffand discusses roles of secretarial staffin the university and the competencies they need to direct their focus. It concludes that given the globalized and highly competitive nature of today's world of work which is driven by information and communications technology coupled with the paucity of employment opportunities globally, individual workers should value their positions and do whatever it takes to avoid becoming irrelevant and being replaced. The paper recommends, among other things, that individual secretarial staffirrespective of rank and experience, should pursue enhanced relevance by acquiring the highlighted competencies while the University Secretarial StaffAssociation should create awareness of the need among the members as well as organize seminars, workshops and conferences to enlighten them. The main purpose of this paper is to highlight relevant knowledge and competencies needed by university secretarial staffin the era of technology which will be significant to the target population, university administration, staffand students.

Keywords: enhancing, relevance, secretarial staff, university system

INTRODUCTION

One of the greatest socio-economic problems of our time is the paucity of employment opportunities especially for the teaming graduates of educational institutions who roam the streets of major cities in Nigeria and some other distressed economies years after graduation in search of non-existent jobs (Waziri, 2004). The different forms of social vices are traced to unemployment as the root cause. Waziri further observed that in the face of this problem, many workers in different organizations in Nigeria including secretarial staffin the university system appear to be only taking from their employers without adding value or making reasonable contributions to their goals' attainment. This is why this author believes that most people who have not seen the ugly face of unemployment or loss of jobs tend not to value their employment opportunities. Observational assessment and oral interviews were adopted for this study. The researcher served as a senior administrative staffin a federal university (Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka) for over ten years with secretaries, typists and computer operators under her supervision. Her assessment of the performance of this vital category of office workers was totally unsatisfactory. She later converted to the academic cadre and for over ten years has served as a lecturer in secretarial technology with secretarial stafffrom Nnamdi Azikiwe University and other neighbouring tertiary institutions in her part time classes. Again, she found that most of them did not possess the background knowledge of the competencies required for their duty performance in today's office. With a strong quest for reasonable impact in her field, she interviewed deans/faculty secretaries and heads of departments in 2011 on how effective their secretarial staffwere performing their duties and the findings revealed that most of the secretarial staffneed retraining to competently perform their changed roles. These findings led to a publication - Ezenwafor and Okeke (2012). It is with this background that this paper seeks to awaken university secretarial staffto the urgent need of doing all they can to increase their relevance for the benefit of the university and its community as well as their own job satisfaction and personal fulfillment. …

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