Archives training at Bangladesh Police Academy (BPA), Sardah, Rajshahi on February 09, 2017, report of Shahedul Alam Chowdhury, Teacher on Nursing @IUBAT, Dhaka
March 1, 2017, 9:38 pm
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I feel wonderful to participate actively in Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society (BARMS) and Friends of Archives Bangladesh (FAB), the Archives Movement of Bangladesh during the recent Bangladesh visit of Mr. Florus Geraedts, Adviser to BARMS and Mr. Sigfried Janzing, Director, Directorate of Archives, Gouda, The Netherlands. I feel more than wonderful for visiting different parts of the country, meeting different people of different walks of lives, visiting different public and private organizations, attending different trainings and discussions at community level to share views on archives and records management, observing and learning from different perspectives of people living in our society. Finally being able to reflect on the experiences makes me feel emotional for the re-realization that awareness of Health Care Archives, Archives and Records Management, Right to Information Act (RTI) are actually the necessities of significant importance for the great numbers of impoverished communities of our country.

One of the recent and very effective programmes on archives was my participation in visiting Bangladesh Police Academy (BPA) Archives, Sardah. Especially to me the recommendation of BARMS training “involving community people for archives awareness program” at BPA will be very useful to create impact on lives of the people living in the community and overall community development. I am very happy to share brief about the visit and hope to write more about archives activities in the future.

In general, hearing the word ‘Police’ can easily make someone a bit cautious, perhaps a little scared too. My feelings were no different. But, visiting BPA to attend archives training, gave a different impression! Indeed, I felt so humbled by the greetings. Especially when we were welcomed by the Principal and the team of the Academy in style I certainly felt overwhelmed, I was fascinated.

We entered BPA at around 11:00 AM. The Principal Md. Nazibur Rahman, ndc, Addl. IGP welcomed the Archives team at his office. He said, he felt very happy to meet friends of BPA Mr. Florus and Mr. Sigfried in his academy for the training. He believes that continuous Archives training and discussion for the BPA staffs will enhance the development of BPA archives. He expects their regular visits and trainings is helpful to develop the BPA archives department. He instructed the fellow officers of BPA archives team to be sincere and to pay due attention to the archives development and maintenance at the academy. He wished a successful training on archives for his staffs and thanked the BARMS Archives team for the visit. Keeping the invitation for another visit in the upcoming the principal said good bye to us.

Mr. Hasan, BPM Bar and head of BPA archives committee guided us during the visit to BPA archives repository. He updated us about the progress of the repository which was established in 2014. Later, Mr. Motaleb, archives officer, explained that they are in the process of creating catalogues, directories and digitization of the archives. Documents are collected from different departments of BPA such as the training department, library, reserve office, clinic and so on. The selection committee, consisting of three members, selects archival documents for storing in the archives repository. The remaining documents are sent to respective departments. Very old records and documents (which are of the year prior to 2007) are stored and can be found in storage room.

We attended the training at conference room after the visit. Mr. Florus started the training and discussion session sharing his experience of previous visits and establishment of BPA archives, training and previous discussions. He asked everyone about the progress made in BPA archives and personal archives? Mr. Motaleb provided the briefing about the progress that they are working very hard to organize archives documents by collecting documents from different departments, categorizing them into groups, creating inventory list, storing them into repository. Currently they are working on digitization of the archival documents.

Mr. Florus later provided an overview on archives and its importance for BPA, community and society. The training turned into an interactive session while exchanging views on the importance of archives. Some of the views elicited from the interactions are:

  1. Archives can be of significant importance for the status, history and heritage of BPA
  2. Archives are of importance to decide about the future activities of BPA
  3. Archives are needed for historical research
  4. Archives in general are essential as for health care (health records), for statistics, planning, development of institutions and society
  5. Archives awareness is in fact a necessity at family level in a community.

Mr. Florus suggested publishing the records on the websites to become available as information to citizens, for research purposes etc. He also suggested BPA archives to contact National Archives of Bangladesh (NAB) to transfer collected archival documents for preservations at NAB, along the rules of the Archives Ordinance 1983. He also suggested that Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society (BARMS) and NAB advisory committee is interested to know about the progress and they can also be contacted for suggestions and help.

In a discussion on how to create awareness about the importance of archives some of the views shared by the participants and trainers were:

  1. Organize more training and discussion on archives
  2. Using mobile phone as an archives tool: mobile phone is an empowering device as suggested by mr. Sigfried, be aware your handy is an archive (with your device you create records, images, store them om google docs or dropbox, make them available by sending documenst, sharing them, to friends and others and also destroy documents to relieve your device)
  3. Organizing exhibition programmes for BPA and Community on Archives involving community people in archives awareness program
  4. Developing and updating websites with information
  5. Writing and publishing articles on archives
  6. Visiting different archives blogs, websites of other countries and organizations
  7. Meeting for discussions about progress of archives activities.

Mr. Sigfried suggested everyone to use collaborative approach for archiving activities. He also provided a little briefing on digital archiving, use of websites, blogs and publishing the documents in blogs. Mr. Motaleb reported 48 out 94 catalogs are already digitized. He suggested to seek guidance and help from BPA archives committee. Motaleb concluded the training by thanking everyone for joining the training.

In the afternoon we were accompanied by Addl. DIG Mr. Bakhtiar for lunch at Urmi (Guest house of BPA). After a short exchange of views with him and others present we departed from BPA. To me it was a very effective program on archives, especially because of the involvements of participants in the training and optimism of BPA Academy for advancing archives awareness and activities through continuous discussion, training and development. I am confident the influence and outcome of the visits and training will add to a great axtent to the advancement of archives movement.