The theme of my discussion is "embracing records management is not easy". Indeed, its look simple but it ain't easy. It is even harder when you are alone, me myself alone and we 'the records professionals' are all do thing 'in silo'.
Someone just take up records management as his or her focus of study, never come across about it before and slowly climbing up the uphill tasks of understanding the term 'records' and 'records management'. So much so in the case of Malaysia and its education. It is not that the education system is not right, it is not that no focus is given during the primary and secondary years of education. It is just that......some missing links here and there. The awareness is not given properly and thus appreciation is not developed for records and archive.
History was learnt, studied and explored but to the extend that it is mere 'spoon feed' approach. Students were not exposed to exploration and researching, and such initiatives were rare. Only many years back when the education policies were changed and things started to change there on. Awareness and realization set to pour in.
Can one just imagine that, someone who is having background in geology or mathematics or whatever specialization, educated in different background and later is given task to run and manage records department. What a worse thing could happen??
In other instance, can one just imagine that, in situation where the sole purpose of existence for newly set up company or organization is to make it run, move it and capitalize on every possible chance in order to make it grow, making and reaping profit as much as possible in order to sustain; during which time does records management is a major concern??
Suddenly, when establishment has been achieved, organizations be it private or public organization begin to realize the importance and critical role of records management. More so when the public organization was inherited from the British administrations (in the case of Malaysia), there are some standing policies, rules and procedures governing records. Such is a blissful things to happen, with limitation on the manpower and expertise who knows about records management and professionals who can really understand and manage records and run records management program in organization. Government agency like Arkib Negara Malaysia (National Archive of Malaysia) has stand still and strong from the very beginning of Malaysia in keeping up historical and long standing Malaysia records materials. Such pivotal role of Arkib Negara of Malaysia must be recognized and appreciated.
In the case of private organization, logic and reasons becomes a benchmark for records management. Best practices from other organizations are emulated and absorbed prior to the setting up of the company. Such is the normal case of private organizations in Malaysia. (this require in depth discussions, this statement is written for the purpose of putting some views which is not conclusive, some data are needed to compensate it).
Each and every single organization has its own records management policies, standards and practices, implemented, derived and inherited from???....such practices is continued for many years until........one fine day, a young man comes in to work for the organization. After several years of study and graduated from local or international university. Having trained and specialized in records management, the young man comes to work with full of energy, motivation and commitment when suddenly he realizes that whatever he LEARNS is not what being PRACTICED! He tries many ways and many times to make some improvement but the situation keep on the same.
A 'VICIOUS CIRCLE' and long standing WORK CULTURE are difficult to amend. The young man faces a very uphill tasks to make CHANGE. He is alone, and to some extent he is considered as too ambitious by his colleagues, he lost pride and respect and the middle and top management does not even take a look or listen to him. More so his immediate superior who keeps on telling him to proceed with the existing practices. He now realizes that embracing records management is not that easy!
What happen then??........YOU FIGURE IT OUT!!