Permanent Solutions to Transcript Issues in Nigerian Schools
In Nigeria today, when we talk about on-time and stress-free transcript production services, we can vouch for only two or three schools (UNILORIN and FUTA being two of them). Please when I talk about on-time and stress-free I’m not judging that with the fast and easy experience that those two people in a group of twenty people have and they use that to argue that transcript production in their schools is not as terrible as they say it is, I’m talking about the experiences of the eighteen of the twenty people—this is the real metric for measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the transcript services of any school, not the experience of the fewest people possible. There are schools that are popularly commended for their good transcript services, so we all know they are getting this thing right (according to public comments, FUTA, UNILORIN and COVENANT deliver between one day to two weeks, so they fall on this group). There are schools that are just somewhere in between being terrible and being among the schools that are doing well (according to public comments, UNILAG, FUNAAB, UNIBEN, NOUN; they deliver between two weeks and never, so they fall on this group). There are also schools that are just popularly terrible (according to public comments, LASU, UI, OAU; they deliver between a couple of months and never, so they fall on this group). The worst part of it is that these terrible-doing schools also lack proper communication; if as an alumnus I requested for my transcript and for one problem or the other the delivery of my transcript would be delayed or would never happen, the department working on it should be able to communicate with me and let me know what the problem is, but unfortunately, I am just likely to sit somewhere thinking my transcript production is ongoing and it would be delivered sooner or later even when no one is doing anything on it. This right here is what worsens the experience.
I know every of these schools have their reasons for their terrible transcript production services and they will always try to justify the failure with inadequate resources and so on, they would be right, but we also know there is none of the problems affecting transcript production in Nigeria that cannot be improvised on or improved upon and get the best results from. From experiences garnered from working on transcripts at different schools, I know what most of the problems are, and here are the things I think the schools can do to grow faster towards same-day delivery of transcripts:
Problem 1: Record is the major reason why transcript delivery cannot be fast, it’s also the reason why some people will never be able to get their transcripts produced if they don’t apply some extreme pressure. Our schools have been paper-based for decades, even when the rest of the world is already done moving from paper to electronic we are still encouraging paper records. We are pretending to be digital but we are still very much paper-based in all of our processes, only our banking sector is, to a large extent, digital; especially with the evolution of FinTechs we have now, the banks are compelled towards the race to get more digital. In the next ten years Nigerians would not have to enter a banking facility anymore, everything would be doable online. Apart from the banking sector, other sectors are just pretending to be digital, they are still very much paper. The immigration offices claim they have gone digital in processing passports but after paying online you would still need to go fill the forms you filled online at their office, and you would need to carry your files from here to there and also make several photocopies. In fact the staff and agents at their offices make you realize you should not apply online. The education sector is the worst, the things you do online you would still have to go to school to do them on papers; this tarnishes the major idea behind going digital. Discussing this as the major problem behind delayed transcript production, our schools still have most of their results on papers (only), and you will have to find these papers before a transcript can be produced.
Solution to Problem 1: Let every school divide their transcript departments into five units:
Unit 1: would take every transcript request and arrange them into three groups:
Group One: requests from alumni who recently graduated and their results can be easily found on the electronic database;
Group Two: requests from alumni who graduated a while ago, their results are not on the electronic database but can be easily found on papers;
Group Three: requests from alumni who graduated decades ago, their records are only on papers, and finding their records would be difficult. This group should also include requests from alumni with other cases that can make producing transcript for them impossible.
Transcript requests from each of the three groups can only queue behind requests from the same group, so the general queue system must be abolished for the group queue system.
Unit 2: would be in charge of uploading every record on papers to an electronic storage system; this would be their only job until there is nothing that’s on paper that’s not also on multiple electronic databases that can be accessed for transcript production. After all old records on papers are now on electronic storage, this unit may remain with this function so no future records are limited to being on papers.
Unit 3: would be in charge of the transcript requests that fall into Group One. For this group, same-day delivery and same-week delivery would be possible. They would be the group that talk good about their school’s transcript production system because they have the good experience when they request for their transcripts. While the overhauling of the system is being done underground, the alumni with this experience would be out there repairing the image of their school’s transcript department.
Unit 4: would be in charge of the transcript requests that fall into Group Two. They would take requests having the features of this group and go access the electronic database first if Unit 2 has uploaded the records needed for it to the database, if yes they would produce the transcript from the database, if no they would go towards the paper records immediately. This cycle and unit would remain till Unit 2 is done uploading all old records on papers to the electronic storages in use.
Unit 5: would be in charge of the transcript requests that fall into Group Three. Their job is to dig the records of these alumni that have graduated decades ago and produce their transcripts and to solve problems that could delay jobs from units 3 and 4.
Problem 2: Problem of inadequate resources. The schools always argue that short-staffing, inadequate funding and so on are the reasons why they can’t execute the plans they have to better their transcript production services, and this is obvious when you go to the transcript department of any school.
Solution to Problem 2: To implement even the Solution to Problem 1above to its best, more resources would be needed than the transcript departments have now, we know this. We also know that the transcript departments are currently one of the highest revenue-generating departments in our schools, so it means the department should be able to fund itself if resources were properly allocated. But as we are not likely to get the proper resource-allocation, then we can improvise strategically unlike the unproductive “improvising” everyone claims they have been doing. Units 1 to 5 described above can effectively be run by 20 people in total; each unit must have the administrator/authority—who approves transcripts produced or records uploaded online, and they can also be the one who communicates with clients for inquiries, updates and so on. At least one person is needed for typing/downloading of transcripts/results. One or two persons running errands to solve problems of the cases falling on Groups Two and Three. This would be human resources purposely and well allocated, and the outcome would be better than what we have now.
Problem 3: Our schools all lack the will to communicate with their alumni, especially when it comes to transcript requests and production you don’t hear anything from your school again just after you have made the payment for the request. The schools let you believe since you have paid the production of your transcript is ongoing—this is mostly a lie and it’s dangerous to just leave everything and start expecting the delivery of your transcript.
Workable Solution to Problem 3: Units Three, Four and Five described above as part of the transcript department should have someone who communicates with the clients to update them on the progress of their transcript and to get needed information from them when necessary. By doing this, not only have the transcript departments settled a lot of fears their client may have, but they also help the vulnerable ones to not fall into the hands of scammers. Communicating with an alumnus who is waiting for the delivery of their transcript can ease so much tension and solve a lot of problems.
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