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A Brief Chronicle on Archives and Record Management Training of Trainers Program 22nd – 24th February, 2010 at The Directorate of Archives and Libraries
March 23, 2010, 10:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A training program was arranged by BARMS ( Bangladesh Record Management Society ) in association with The Directorate of Archives and Libraries at the newly built Archives Building in Sher-E-Bangla Nagar , Dhaka on Archives and Record Management from 22nd – 24th of February , 2010 . The training program was a success as it was attended by several foreign as well as domestic teachers relevant to the platform of Archives and Records Management . To name them ,

The Foreign Teachers were :

1 Mr. Drs Florus Geraedts ( An archivist from The Netherlands )
2 Mr. Savumthara Raz Gopal ( An archivist from Malaysia )
3 Mr. Jean-Philippe Caquet ( An archivist from Norway )

The Domestic Teachers were :

1 Dr. Sharif Uddin Ahmed ( Dept. of History , DU )
2 Dr. Mahbubar Rahman ( Dept. of History , RU )
3 Dr. Mezbah-Ul-Islam ( Dept. of Information Science and Library Management , DU )

The entire description ( if I did not forget ! ) of the events held at the Archives Building during 22nd – 24th of February , 2010 is mentioned below . The writing is arranged under different paragraphs sequentially representing a new person coming to the event thus beginning of a new session occurred , thus the whole events are interpreted . I hope all of you can understand the pattern I used to develop this piece of writing and I humbly request you to forgive my misinterpretation ( of any technical term or matters ! ) if found in this piece of writing and please do not hesitate to ask for any clarification regarding any matter described here if needed .

DAY – 01 ( 22nd of February , 2010 )

The opening ceremony was inaugurated by the Honourable Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs for the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh , Mr. Hedayet-Ullah-Al-Mamoon , at 10 AM .

At the opening ceremony , Mr. Savumthara Raz Gopal thanked all the management members involved in the organization of the training program .
Afterwards , Mr. Hedayet-Ullah-Al-Mamoon ( Honourable Secretary , Ministry of Cultural Affairs , Government of Bangladesh (GOB) ) made his speech telling that the record management system here in Bangladesh is a by-product of the British Empire . He talked about the record management system and the relevancy of education system with the record management system . He also stated that at that period the learning system was in English and all the records are kept in English . He mentioned that the present government led by the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set a target of building a resourceful archive in between the time 2014 and 2021 . The government also has an intention of allotting fund to raise the building , thereby facilitating conducting seminars and other activities in the new building – he added . He enunciated that we are still facing the bad impacts of colonial rule . He concluded and gave thanks to the people present there telling that the financial problem of the National Archives of Bangladesh will be discussed at the ministry of cultural affairs soon .

Then came Mr. Florus Geraedts and thanked everyone for serving the Archives and Records Management ( ARM ) movement . He told that the Training of Trainers ( TOT ) program is focusing on the development of ARM perspectives throughout the Bangladesh . He concluded saying that throughout the sessions arranged we are going to teach each other , thus imparting basic knowledge among us on the field of ARM .

Afterwards came Prof. Dr. Sharif Uddin Ahmed and made his speech . He mentioned that since this is the month of our Bengali language movement to which UNESCO gave tribute by declaring the 21st February as the International Mother Language Day , the speech should be in Bangla , but for the foreign delegates , the speech will be in English – he asked the present people to consider and realize that matter . He asked for the trained man-power for the archival development . He mentioned that though there are Dhaka University , Rajshahi University and Jahangir Nagar University who teach archival science but in merely without any proper practicality , hence he suggested that a professional training institute should be established who are supposed to be made proper trained professional for the archives throughout the country . It is stated that the awareness should be raised among the common people of importance of archives throughout the country . And for doing so , international co-operation is highly needed such as making a memorandum with the Netherlands and Norwegian archivists . He enunciated that to develop archives and records management perspectives in Bangladesh , we have to go a long way . He uttered an optimistic piece of talking that if we go in the right way , we will surely reach our destination very soon . He concluded showing gratitude and giving thanks to the people present there .

Then came Salma Islam ( Assistant Director , National Archives of Bangladesh ) and tendered her greeting in general to all , and in particular to the BARM Society , Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs , and to experienced trainers from the home and as well as from abroad .

Afterwards , an introduction from all the participants from their own mouth is taken , thus making all the participants known to each others . After that , tea break was given . After the Tea – break , the classes were carried on as described underneath .

Afterwards came Prof. Dr. Sharif Uddin Ahmed with his literature “Introduction to Archives and Records Management” and stated that the ARM is now a highly developed discipline , not as it was in the past . He made some introductory remarks on ARM and asked for raising awareness of the importance of ARM among the people in general . He asked for establishing archival school as there in Bangladesh are no institutes or colleges who provide with ARM courses . He mentioned that the perspectives regarding the ARM are not satisfactory as awareness is still needed to be raised to a certain level .

Dr. Sharif Uddin Ahmed told that archive is not only a provider of historical research information , but also a tool for ensuring good governance throughout the administration of the government of Bangladesh . Though from the very past , there was Archives , but what does not prevail in that is the management aspects of Archives , at the past , there were only records rooms , the staffs were supposed to throw the stuff in the record rooms , thus making nothing but a mess . There was not observed any awareness in division and district level throughout the country for the development of archival system among the personnel working in the archives – which was a desperate situation . He exemplified this situation saying that – once he asked at the Panchagar ( a district in Bangladesh ) District Head Quarter of whether they have any plan for record room , and they replied in negative saying that – what is record room ? – we do not need any record room ! But what they had done is just earmarked a room which is far store room than a record room .

Dr. Sharif Uddin Ahmed gave another example for the desperate ARM perspectives in Bangladesh saying that in the ministries of GOB ( Government of Bangladesh ) , they are just dumping the records or files in an unorganized way , and that resulted in that if someone asks for a file or records , it takes 7 days to trace the documents , thus considering this , it can be gauged that ARM perspectives of Bangladesh is under fragile condition . The persons engaged in the system do not realize that the records are not only concerned with a matter of curiosity and with historical research but also with maintaining good governance in the country .

Dr. Sharif Uddin Ahmed enunciated that historically we are left behind as in the reign of Pakistan , there was no record room in the then East Pakistan ( now Bangladesh after get freedom from Pakistan ) – so we should not ashamed of that as we are not supposed to be blamed of not maintaining any record room at the then period . But what is reality is that though having freedom in 1971 , we are still not maintaining records properly and in organized form . And if the situation goes on like this we will surely have to depend totally on the aged – old people for the historiography of the present for the future generation to come . He stated that though the University of Dhaka was compared once upon a time as Oxford of East , there is not any archive in the university as well . He concluded stating that though ARM situation in Bangladesh is not satisfactory but not be afraid of as we have so many working hands .

Afterwards , the floor was made opened for open-discussion and question-answer session . At this session , a question was thrown by Dr. Mezbah to Dr. Sharif Uddin Ahmed that “What is the difference between Archives and Records” which was answered by Dr. Sharif Uddin and supplemented by Dr. Mahbubar Rahman , Salma Islam . Mr. Raz Gopal give comments on this matter emphasizing on the life cycle of the records . Mr. Jalal Ahmed made his own observations saying that all archives ( as a document ) are records but all the records are not archives .

Afterwards Dr. Sharif Uddin said he as a historian does not like to destroy any kinds of records before categorizing those records into the classes A , B , C , and D . Thus , the session came to an end after getting comments from Dr. Taibul Hasan ( Present Director , National Archives of Bangladesh ( NAB ) ) . Dr. Taibul Hasan suggested that the BARM society along with the NAB should go to the VC of the University of Dhaka and to the secretaries of GOB to establish archives in both the places mentioned .

Afterwards , came Dr. Mahbubar Rahman with his topic “Archival Legislation in Bangladesh” . He explained archival hierarchy here existing in Bangladesh from the National level through Divisional level and District level to Upazilla level . Under the national level , he categorized the NAB and Secretariat Record Room ; under the divisional level , the Divisional Commissioner’s Records Room ; under the district level , the District Collectorate Records Room ( Mohafez Khana ) , District Judges Records Room , the Zilla Parishad Records Room , The Land Registrars Records Room , Labour Court Records Room , and so on ; under the upazilla municipality , the Upazilla Records Room , the Municipality or City Corporation Records Room , Union Parishad Records Room and the like ; and under the others he categorized University or College based Records Room , ICDDR,B Records Room , Heritage Archives ( in Rajshahi ) and so forth .

Dr. Mahbubar Rahman further explained how these archives are functioning . He told that the National Archives of Bangladesh is run by The National Archives Ordinance 1983 , Bangladesh Secretariat Records Room by Secretariat Instruction 2008 , the District Collectorate Records Room by The Bengal Records Manual 1928 , and so on .

Dr. Mahbubar Rahman exemplified the non – existence of archives at the university level stating that though the term ‘university archives’ and its relevance is mentioned in the syndicate ordinances of the university , but there is not viewed any archive at the university , though it should be implemented by the ordinances .

Dr. Mahbubar Rahman further stated the background for not having good records room practices in Bangladesh . In this context he mentioned that during the period 1947 – 1971 , there was not given proper attention to the records rooms and archives , moreover the people working there before 1947 was replaced by the amateur people with no interest in records keeping and with having no comprehensibility of importance of archives and records management in administration . Stating these circumstances , he concluded suggesting that the persons working there should be trained up properly and there are badly needed permanent records keepers in the records rooms throughout the country , as it is viewed that the people got the training go somewhere else after getting the training as they are not permanent records keepers , thus from this , the importance of the permanent records keepers can be gauged with ease .

Afterwards came Mr. Florus Geraedts with his literature “Acquisition of Archives” . He stated that in Bangladesh , the awareness of proper records keeping has just pioneered and the pioneering activities are still carrying on by the National Archives of Bangladesh , BARM society and by the like institutions . In attaining proper fulfillment , he stated , co-operation is a must , and for co-operation , willingness for co-operation is a must . He urged on building networks with the people having commitment to Archives and Records Management throughout the country including not only the professionals but also the amateurs in this field . He suggested that not only people from history background but also from several backgrounds should be communicated . The journalists , publishing bodies , lawyers , information scientists or experts , computer experts should be got in touch with and should be viewed as the allieds . He made conclusion by asking the people present there for preserving their own national heritage in archival form .

Afterwards lunch break was taken , and after that the planned sessions are carried on as stated below .

Afterwards came Mr. Savumthara Raz Gopal with his literature “Disaster Management : Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan” . He talked about different types of plan , i.e. Disaster Plan ; Disaster Preparedness Plan ; Disaster Recovery Plan ; and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan . He further stated about the purposes , aims , objectives , needs , uses and objectives of the Disaster Plan . He also mentioned about the responsibilities and activities of the Disaster Response Team . He concluded suggesting different measures for different types of disasters . He mentioned prevention and recovery practices concerned .

I am afraid of saying that I did not have the opportunity to attend the classes titled “ARM in Holland” by Mr. Drs Florus Geraedts ; “Management of Archival Repository” by Mr. Savumthara Raz Gopal ; and “Digital and Other Electronic Data Storing Systems” by Dr. Mezbah-Ul-Islam , as I had to be in somewhere else , to be precise , at the Airport to receive another foreign teacher Mr. Jean-Philippe Caquet ( An archivist from Norway ) accompanied by another person from the National Archives of Bangladesh . And by the time I reached the National Archives of Bangladesh again , the program for the day was over . So I hope you can understand the skipping of the description here , and I think you would not mind it as I clarified as much as possible .

DAY – 02 ( 23rd of February , 2010 )

The second day was started with the literature “Finding Aids of Archival Records” by Mr. Jean-Philippe Caquet ( An archivist from Norway ) . He proposed that we should have a plan and inventory and devices as such to locate records quickly and with effectiveness . Standard plans are suggested to be formulated for all departments for finding archival records . He made conclusion saying that though there is in practice in Bangladesh several different systems in different offices to identify records , the recommendation is to follow a standard system that will cater for all the offices for identifying the documents as effectively and efficiently as possible in less possible time .

Afterwards Tea break was given , and the sessions started afterwards with the literature “Registry Manual” by Raj Gopal . He suggested for having registry manual for each department for its own . He told not to do dilly-dally to make registry manual if there is not any manual made earlier . He talked about the importance of documentation plan or manual . He said that what we have to do is nothing but writing down the procedures . He explained several types of manual – Registry Manual , Registry Procedures Manual , Records Management Manual , Archives Administration Manual and so forth . He proposed us to document the manual by stamping . He further stated that manual should incorporates written guidelines / procedures , what-to-do , how-to-do instruction and so on . He told that registry manual is the written procedures that offer basic directions on how to perform each key aspect of registry system . He illustrated the contents of the manual and also the importance of the manual as in – establishing responsibility , assisting training program , reducing errors , standardizing procedures , increasing productivity , saving money , and increasing efficiency in the system . He also talked for the authorization of the registry manual and telling this he mentioned the sources as The National Archives Act & Procedures and other organization . He did mention the users of the manual and these bodies are the administrative officers , department records officers and clerks and so on .

For the absence of Mr. Florus Geraedts , Mr. Raz Gopal made some introductory talks over records classification , he classified records under two types , i.e. housekeeping records and functional records . Under the house-keeping records , he categorized administration , building , equipment and supplies , finance and personnel ( Human Resource ) , and under the functional records he categorized all the records related to organization’s functions .

After that point , Mr. Raz Gopal made request to BARM society as well as to National Archives of Bangladesh to make a plan or manual for their own records keeping , thus making a resolution for making a manual .

Afterwards came with his literature titled “Classification , Appraisal and Disposal of Documents” Mr. Florus Geraedts . He urged the people concerned to make all the information available on to the Internet in the coming future because , by that time , there will be so many people having trends using and retrieving the information and would like to get information from the Internet . He also suggested making communication with local records keepers . He asked for leaving the narrow-mindedness back and starting working together co-operatively telling this people from all spheres of professions ( lawyers , journalists , information professionals , historians and so on ) is needed for the proper records management system . Neutrality and ethics in the records keeping system is highly emphasized throughout his lecture . He asked the records keepers not to be biased or prone to any political parties or government agencies . He made conclusion saying that assigning catch-words ( metadata ) to the records for the documentation purpose is a must for the quick and effective retrieval of the records in the future if needed .

Afterwards came with his literature “Preservation of Archives and Records – ( Part 1 )” Mr. Raz Gopal . He suggested 10 degree Celsius is good for the preservation mentioning that the lower the temperature the better it is for any type of the materials ! But we have to consider the human factor as well since human being cannot feel better at the 10 degree Celsius ! He proposed that the location of the storage area should be away from disaster-prone area , fire sources , flood , pollution and public disaster-prone area . He also talked about security and access , under which he brought control access , electronic access , and the importance of trained personnel as well as importance of validating the access , thereby , blocking the intruders from the system , thus preventing information distortion of any kind . He also mentioned about the fluctuation of the temperature and the relative humidity . He made conclusion suggesting that the lighting in the archives should be below 50 lx .

Afterwards lunch break was taken , and after that the planned sessions are carried on as stated below .

Afterwards Mr. Jean-Philippe Caquet came with his literature “How to Inspect Records Rooms” . He emphasized on keeping in mind the disaster management plan while inspecting the records rooms . He proposed usage of fire extinguisher in each and every repository . He concluded telling that a checklist drawn from observing the manual or procedural document should be followed while inspecting the records rooms .

Afterwards came with his literature “Preservation of Archives and Records – ( Part 2 )” Mr. Raz Gopal . He suggested that the requirements should be logical as the 5 flies do not call for a mobile cabinet system . He added that all the materials to be used in the archives should be acid-free . At this point Florus put a remark that “laminating is suffocating” and Raz Gopal rather emphasized over the encapsulation of the materials if needed . Raz Gopal also commented that every repair should be reversible as the techniques are going amid changes in the course of time . He pointed out the differences between the ball-point pen and fountain pen . He mentioned about a method for making the materials flat all the round meaning having the same thickness all round the materials , and that is leaf-casting ( in this case , the paper , first , are put into the machines , and the paper is cut and the paper-fibre is collected as the output of that process , and then the paper-fibre is put at the uneven part of the materials and then made the materials encapsulated ) . Though the system seems to be inexpensive as this method uses nothing but paper and some materials , the machine needed to do this is a very costly . He mentioned the advantages of encapsulation over lamination that the former one is reversible-compatible and can be used for big documents as well . He informed us that conservation activities require more patience than it takes while performing other activities in archives or records centres . He suggested about CMC glue , otherwise he put that we can make glue from a plant named “Tapioca” as its extracts is acid-free , but difficulty in that is it attracts insects , thus it call for regular cleaning and dusting . He made conclusion answering a question that conservation and preservation is used through out the globe interchangeably .

Later on Mr. Raz Gopal came with his another literature “Hands-on Conservation” . In this part , he mentioned about records life cycle ( creation — maintenance ) then , the records might go to heaven ( archives for permanent preservation ) or hell ( disposition ) ( as quoted by famous T. R. Schelenburg ) . Mr. Raz Gopal suggested handling the records carefully and correctly . He mentioned at this point the users of the records as civil servants , archivists and researchers . He proposed the National Archives of Bangladesh to make a team whose responsibility will be inspecting the offices suddenly to look out for whether the records are maintained properly or not . And if found that they are not keeping records properly , then exercise the power of the Archives Act as they use in Malaysia . Though making a sudden visit to the offices depicts their real pictures , the officers working there might not entertain you as expected saying that they are busy and might ask you to come later , and before you go to the places for the second time , they might arrange all the records as it should be ! He suggested that the awareness regarding the archives and records management should be raised through various measures such as posters , leaflet , and other means of promotion . He concluded telling the proper way of handling the documents that is wearing cotton / latex gloves , using both hands and trolleys to shift the documents , using quality shelves , containers and boxes to preserve the materials and using stepladders and not the force to inspect the records which are kept beyond normal reach from the ground and so forth .

Later on came Mr. Jean-Philippe Caquet with his literature “Private Archives” . He gave definition to what the private archives are . He categorized under the private archives – the personal collection , non-government school archives , business houses and factories archives and the like archives or records centres . He suggested that National Archives of Bangladesh ( NAB ) , Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society ( BARMS ) , and Heritage Archives Bangladesh Trust ( HABT ) should take initiatives to collect private archives throughout the country and promoting this field through press release .

Afterwards , came Mr. Florus Geraedts with his literature “Need of Public Records Act” . He talked about several issues of Right To Information ( RTI ) Act that is in effect in Bangladesh from July 2009 onwards . He addressed the RTI , if implemented properly , as a tool for eradicating corruption in the administrative setup of Bangladesh , thereby instituting real transparency and accountability in there – that would certainly resulted in good governance in the country . He referred some name of the newspapers that are publishing issues related with the good governance , RTI and the like . He urged the people present there to make pressure group to make proper implementation of RTI in the country . He concluded saying that some information is confidential that cannot be asked for the security or other purposes of the country as well as some information is harmful as some people are trying to make money out of it .

DAY – 03 ( 24th of February , 2010 )

The third day started with the lecture “Using Archives for Local History ; Service to Reading Room Visitors , Students and Scholars” by Mr. Florus Geraedts . He requested for treating the visitors in the reading rooms politely . He mentioned that the archives and the records rooms in the Bangladesh are in poor conditions . He urged for raising awareness throughout the whole country for the development of archives and records management perspective . He concluded telling that it is a pity that Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society ( BARMS ) is the only allied for National Archives of Bangladesh and for archives scattering the whole country in Bangladesh like Heritage Archives and the like .

The next session started with the lecture “Archives and Records Management in Malaysia” by Mr. Savumthara Raz Gopal . He thoroughly narrated the situation amid which came the present National Archives of Malaysia . There was not any legislation or regulation for the management of public records at that period . And more over , 50 % of the records were destroyed in the world war 2 . In 1957 , a person named “H.N. Blakistan” ( I might misspelled the name ! ) , an assistant keeper , Public Records Office , London , visited the Malaya ( as the name was like this ! ) and proposed the building of organization . In 1963 , the public records office became National Archives of Malaysia ( NAM ) . In 1965 , there was built records service centres . In 1966 the NAM ACT 44 / 1966 was promulgated . This act gave innumerous power to the National Archives of Malaysia and for that government offices need to seek permission from the NAM before destroying their records . The act 44 / 1966 gave authority to NAM such as they can inspect the public records , make transfer , destruction of public records and so on . Regarding the human resources , Mr. Raz Gopal stated that in 1953 there were 3 staffs , in 1965 there were 35 , in 1981 – 250 and in 2010 there are 600 people working in the National Archives of Malaysia . He mentioned that from the very beginning the National Archives of Malaysia was facing the lack of space , resulted in , from the 1977 the construction for the new building was started , and the by the time 1981 the building for the National Archives of Malaysia was completed in Kuala Lumpur , and by the time 2010 July , the new Audio-Visual building is expected to be opened for the researchers and users of the archives . He also talked about the NAM ACT 2003 which was a comparatively new act to the scenario of the archives , and under this act the National Archives of Malaysia was given authority as the NAM is now not only concerned with the active records management rather is concerned with the semi-active records management and also with the non-active records management . Mr. Raz Gopal suggested that we should get the act of the NAM and of the National Archives of Australia 2008 as it is quite recommendable as its incorporation of issues like digital records keeping and so forth . He also suggested that the Records Disposal Schedule can be downloaded from the Internet and can be treated as the yardstick for our country , but the difficulty is that , the Records Disposal Schedule is in Malay language , and we people are supposed to make it translated in our own language Bengali or English . In this point , one of the participants in the program , Md. Samsur Rahman made a remark suggesting that Google Translation Service can be used to make it translated from the Malay language to the English Language . Mr. Raz Gopal made conclusion answering a questions that there are state archives but no municipal archives in Malaysia .

Later on came Mr. Jean-Philippe Caquet with his lecture “Raising Archival Awareness” . He talked about raising the awareness for archival development through press release , exhibitions , lectures , and education in schools , colleges , and user communities for the promotion of archives . He stated some of the concept named “Cultural Schoolbag” , “Cultural Walking Stick” those are in their current phase in his country Norway for the archival awareness . He urged on having a booth under the National Archives of Bangladesh in the Ekushey Boimela , but alas ! there was not any booth under the national archives . He told that media can play a vital role in raising awareness for archives . Journalists are asked to make some efforts to develop the poor condition of the records management in Bangladesh , thereby popularizing the archives movement . He suggested that exhibitions of archives can be organized to promote archives and records management throughout the country . Committee should be formed to get the commitment of the committee members , on the other hand committee should be made inspired for fulfilling any commitment such as organizing a function successfully . He concluded suggesting that exhibition , 40 years celebration and seminars can be arranged for the promotion of the archival movement . At this point Lt. Col. Lutful Huq added that we should try to fit the suggestions of Mr. Caquet to our culture and budget , thus making the archival movement stronger .

Afterwards came Mr. Savumthara Raz Gopal with his literature “Training Programs or Modules in Records Management and Archives Administration” . Under this heading he described several things as follows . To be precise , he gave a general outline for the training program on Records Management and on Archives Administration separately . Under the Records Management , he categorized two types of training program , one is general training and another one is specific training program .

Under the General Training Program in Records Management , Mr. Raz Gopal bring together the following headings :

– Introduction to Records Management
– Introduction to Filing System
– Legislation for Records Management
– Difference between Records Rooms ( for Semi-active or Non-current Records ) , Filing Rooms ( for Active Records ) , and Strong Rooms ( for Confidential Document )
– Disposal ( It is regarded as appetizer humourously by Mr. Raz Gopal and he
stated that it should come first before food ! )

Under the Specific Training Program in Records Management , Mr. Raz Gopal bring together the following headings :

– Classification System
– Retention Schedule
– Disposition Schedule

At this point , Mr. Raz Gopal stated that these programs should involve normal people working in the archives or records rooms – not the Director General of the archives as he or she might be too much busy a person to be included in the program as such . At this point , a participants at the program Mr. Samsul Islam Khan made a remark telling that the IT people should be made involved in the training program . Here in this point the Electronic Records Management System ( ERMS ) and the Electronic Database Management System ( EDMS ) are suggested as well as Motivation Courses is requested to be incorporated in the training program .

At this point Mr. Florus Geraedts told that realization will be our capital for motivation . He added that no one will come from UK or USA to do that , but we are supposed to do that by ourselves – it should be done in the inside of ourselves – so we are requested to go and internalize it ! He pityingly told that he visited many government offices , and the people sitting at the desk were nothing but the mental patient – who does not have the idea for the importance of proper records management , and the relevance of good governance and records keeping system .

Mr. Raz Gopal at this point bring together the followings for the outline under the General Training Program in Archives Administration :

– Introduction to Archives Administration
– Finding Aids , Research and Reading Rooms
– Arrange of Archives
– Preservation and Conservation

Mr. Raz Gopal suggested that firstly we have to understand who are our clients and potential customers , then we are supposed to provide what they want and not to provide what they do not want .

Afterwards , Mr. Jean-Philippe Caquet showed us some web addresses ( Website links ) those are relevant to the Archives and Records Management .

After that lunch break was taken , and after the lunch the following sessions were arranged .

Later on came Mr. Florus Geraedts with his literature “RTI and Record Keeping” . He told that sharing of knowledge is needed , that will be ultimately , resulting in enriching every one’s knowledge domain – that is why the program was arranged in such a way that facilitates both-way-communication not only the single-way-communication among the participants . He asked for having dialogues or discussions with the politicians and bureaucrats addressing it as a vital issue for the proper maintenance and check-and-balance in the field of records keeping and overall information management . He asked to convey the government people the message that RTI is not our enemy rather a good friend for maintaining real accountability and transparency in the governance , in relation with that , he mentioned a post SPIO ( Special Public Information Officer , so far I can remember the title ! ) , which is seen throughout the Calcutta Public Records Rooms . He added that until the RTI is not implemented effectively , the citizenship will not be working properly , let alone dreaming for the free flow of information throughout the government departments . He made conclusion stating that we people are supposed to fight against the traditional system of records keeping and information management , thereby instituting a new , advanced and effective records and information management system .

Afterwards , Lt. Col. Lutful Huq made comments thanking Mr. Florus Geraedts for narrating the importance of RTI in such nicely . He discussed several sections of the RTI act currently in effect in Bangladesh . At this point some participants told in fear that the secrecy will be compromised in some cases as this act supersedes most of the other acts prevailing in the country at present . After his speech , the closing ceremony was made started .

At the closing ceremony , Mr. Iqbal Mahmud ( Secretary , Ministry of Establishment , Government of Bangladesh ) was present as the chief guest . It is viewed that some suggestions were come out from the training program , that is , “development and modernization of archives” and “allocation of more funds” are given importance to attract the attention of the Honourable secretary of the government of Bangladesh . At this point , several persons made speeches which are portrayed below .

Dr. Taibul Hasan ( Present Director , National Archives of Bangladesh ) said that by means of arranging such training programs , cultural exchanges among the participating countries can be observed , which will ultimately proved to be useful for our country as well as for the participating countries .

Jalal Ahmed mentioned that the very day is the birthday for the BARM as well since the BARM was established on the 24th of March , 2009 at the auditorium of National Museum of Bangladesh . He emphasized on the importance of such training .

Mr. Florus Geraedts thanked all the people present there and asked us to row against the decay to develop the records keeping and information management system existing in Bangladesh saying that the system is not reliable – which is definitely a matter of insult for a nation like us .

Mr. Raz Gopal said that the national archives of Bangladesh should be provided with more budgets and it should recruit much more human resources to maintain the archives properly , thereby serving the nation to its desired levels .

Mr. Jean-Philippe Caquet stated that the national archives should promote themselves by making awareness throughout the country . He suggested to the national archives to celebrate its 40 years of celebration as a form of awareness raising program and he also asked for the real implementation of the Right to Information Act in Bangladesh .

After the speeches , the certificate was given among the participants . And after that Mr. Iqbal Mahmud ( Honourable Secretary , Ministry of Establishment , Government of Bangladesh ) made his speech . He thanked the body who organized the training program in a way that is desired . He mentioned about 8 Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs ) and also stated that there are 4 goals which are to some or much extent concerned with the proper record keeping and information management and with transparency and accountability in the governance . He enunciated that there are laws in our country but what is missing is the real implementation of the same saying that we have records manual but it is not followed properly . He also stated that we should have a change in our mentality and have to internalize the real importance of archives in the country and national life as archives works as a bridge between the past and the future . He asked for the organogram and vision of the National Archives of Bangladesh as it is one of the apex organization in Bangladesh . He tendered his thanks to the people who are interested in preserving the history of the country for the future generation . He concluded congratulating the participants for the successfully ending of the program and asking the participants to disseminate the knowledge gathering throughout the training program to the others , thereby raising awareness of the archives and records management among the people in general .

Afterwards came Prof. Sharif Uddin Ahmed ( Honourable President , Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society ) and stated that training program as such will have to go a long way to develop the National Archives of Bangladesh . He gave thanks to the trainers for their hard-working , help and presence without which the program will become futile . As the president of BARM society , he pledged that BARM society will be doing activities to make skilled archivists but that requires help from all spheres of people particularly from the Government of Bangladesh . At this point , the destruction scenario of the records at the Secretariat records rooms of the Government of Bangladesh is made focused before the Honourable Secretary for the Ministry of Establishment of the Government of Bangladesh , Mr. Iqbal Mahmud . Then he thanked Lt. Col. Lutful Huq for effectively and efficiently ended the program . He concluded saying that he is not supposed to say goodbye to the trainees as the task has just now started and we have not yet won anything , so we are going to meet in future again and again for the betterment of archives and records management sector in Bangladesh .

Afterwards Lt. Col. Lutful Huq came and appreciated the hard-working of the trainees as it is very difficult to attend the classes from 9.00 to 5.00 for the 3 days long . He concluded thanking everyone because if anyone in the system dysfunctions , then no program goes to its ultimate success , and as the program ended successfully and efficiently , so he thanked and showed gratitude to everyone as they deserved .

Afterwards came Ms. Salma Islam ( Assistant Director , National Archives of Bangladesh ) and made her speech . She thanked all the people ( Organizing body , trainees and others present there ) especially the trainees for their hard-working at the training program , and for the vast knowledge in their respective field . She proposed that we should go like “Environment Movement” and make awareness higher and higher among the people in general for the archives and proper records management system . She made conclusion apprehending that if the records management scenario goes like the Secretariat one , we will soon lost our history , and which will be of great pity for a nation like us .

Thus , the 3-days long training program on the Archives and Records Management had finished effectively and efficiently with fruition .

Thanking you all ……….. I hope you enjoyed reading it out , and it would be highly appreciative if I got any kind of comments ( appreciation , criticism , or otherwise ! ) on it from you .

Md. Samsur Rahman
Department of Information Science and Library Management
University of Dhaka
mdsamsurrahman@yahoo.com

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Speech of the President of the Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society (BARMS ) , Professor Dr. Sharif uddin Ahmed at the inaugural ceremony of Trainers of the Trainee (TOT) Programme on 22nd February 2010 at the National Archives of Bangladesh, Agargaon, Dhaka
March 9, 2010, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hon’ble Chief Guest Mr. Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, Secretary Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Professor Dr. Md. Taibul Hasan Khan Director of the National Archives of Bangladesh, Professor Dr. Mahbubar Rahman , General Secretary, Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society, Distinguished Foreign Trainers Mr. Florus Geraedts of the Netherlands, mr Jean Philippe Caquet from Norway and Mr. G. Savumthararaj of the National Archives of Malaysia, Mr. Jalal Ahmed the Vice- President of BARMS, my colleagues of the National Archives and National Library of Bangladesh, trainees from different organizations, eminent guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

To-day indeed is a red letter day in the history of Archival Development of Bangladesh. As far as I am aware, never before a training programme for the archivists of Bangladesh conducted by experienced Foreign Trainers has taken place in Bangladesh. I am happy to say that from to-day such an event is going to take place for the next three days.

As it so happened the history of the Archives and Records Management in Bangladesh is not so old. Although we have a tradition of archives but its professional management was absent till recently. The gap was first fulfilled when in 1972 the National Archives of Bangladesh was founded. The National Archives since then has been collecting records and documents, and also managing them for the benefit of the government, researchers, scholars and the general public. Although it has been serving the nation splendidly, nevertheless its performance suffers from inadequate manpower particularly trained manpower. In Bangladesh we do not have any institute or college where Archival Management Courses are taught. Although through our efforts two of the Universities namely Rajshahi and Jahangirnagar University are now offering lessons in Archives but these lessons are not professionally done and do not lead to conferment of any degree or diploma. We are now contemplating to establish an Institute of Archival Management which would be run professionally and would confer degrees or diplomas.

In general in Bangladesh there is a lack of awareness about the importance and value of old records and archives. As a result in the process we have lost huge amount of government and historical records which have caused difficulties for government in obtaining information and to the historians for truly recording the nation’s history. To remove these difficulties some of us who are interested in the matter got together and resolved to establish an Archives and Records Management Society to generate public awareness and to support the efforts of the National Archives in collecting government documents on a regular basis as well as creating a group of skilled archivists. It is just a year that we have founded the Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society. Already we have organized several training programmes and workshops. We have helped many record rooms to modernize their collections and build a proper archives. We have visited many offices, ministries and local government offices as a programme for creating awareness and develop modern archives. Now in collaboration with the National Archives of Bangladesh we are holding this Training Programme by foreign Trainers.
Another thing which BARMS has explored is the international cooperation for developing human resources and sharing records and documents. It may be noted that many valuable historical documents related to Bangladesh are now preserved in the archives of many countries of Asia, Europe and America. BARMS has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dutch and Norwegian archival societies for exchanging experts for training archivists and modernizing archives and record rooms of Bangladesh. To-day’s Training Programme is an outcome of that Memorandum of Understanding. We are grateful to the Norwegian Archives Society and the Association of South Holland Archivists for their help.
We have already entered into negotiations with the authorities of the National Archives of India, Holland and France for providing us with the digital copies of the records related to Bangladesh which when we receive them would be deposited in the National Archives of Bangladesh. We are also exploring the possibilities of sending Bangladeshi scholars to do research works in the archives of India, Holland, France and America.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In our endeavour to develop and modernize our archival system we have to go a long way. However, we are in the right track, and if we can continue our journey seriously and dedicatedly through this path we shall surely achieve our goal. The primary need however is skilled manpower. This we are trying our best to develop. The present training programme is a part of that efforts.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are grateful to all of them who are helping us in our efforts. I express my thanks and gratitude to our Secretary for Cultural Affairs for his presence at this inaugural function. It may be noted that his help and cooperation is most vital for developing the Archival system in this country. I also express our thanks and gratitude to the Director and officials of the National Archives of Bangladesh for their help and cooperation in implementing the Training Programme. I express my gratitude and thanks to the Foreign Trainers for their presence and participation in our training programme. I also express our gratitude and thanks to all the authorities who have sent their officials for training.
I wish the trainees a happy and fruitful three days of training and practical experience. The knowledge that they would gather will go a long way to develop the archives in Bangladesh.
Thank you very much Ladies and Gentlemen for your patient hearing.

Professor Dr. Sharif uddin Ahmed
President, BARMS
22 February 2012