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Opinions of Monday, 12 December 2011

Columnist: Adam, Abdul-Kahar

Secretaryship: Luck Of Proper Transformation And Expansion

First and foremost, the purpose of this article is to depict the importance of the word “Secretary” and its future prospects and to challenge any myth that people perceived about the work of a Secretary or anyone performing a secretarial role.



I think everyone in this world would recognise the most popular and life-time titles in the super power countries such as United Kingdom and the USA and also the UN as a global organisation. In the hierarchy of these countries governance, they have Home SECRETARY and SECRETARY of State respectively whereas the UN has SECRETARY General. As such that, we have Company Secretaries who are Chartered Secretaries especially dominating in the United Kingdom and are known as Corporate Secretaries in the US.



The roles and functions performed by each of these positions are broad but below is a summary of their work:



Home Secretary

The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State. The Home Secretary is responsible for internal affairs within England and Wales, and for immigration and citizenship for the whole of the United Kingdom: that is Great Britain and Northern Ireland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Secretary.



Secretary of State



Department Mission Statement

Advance freedom for the benefit of the American people and the international community by helping to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world composed of well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and act responsibly within the international system (from the FY 2010 Agency Financial Report, released November 2010). http://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/index.htm#mission. Duties and Responsibilities of the Secretary of State can be found on http://www.state.gov/secretary/115194.htm.



UN Secretary General



The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the Secretariat of the United Nations, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary-General_of_the_United_Nations.



Role

The Secretary-General was envisioned by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a "world moderator," but the office was defined in the UN Charter as the organization's "chief administrative officer" (Article 97). Nevertheless, this more restricted description has not prevented the office holders from speaking out and playing important roles on global issues, to various degrees.



Company Secretary



Officer appointed by the directors of a firm as responsible for ensuring that firm's legal obligations under the corporate legislation are complied with. His or her formal duties include (1) calling meetings, (2) recording minutes of the meetings, (3) keeping statutory record books, (4) proper payment of dividend and interest payments, and (5) proper drafting and execution of agreements, contracts, and resolutions http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/company-secretary.html. A company secretary is a senior position in a private company or public organisation, normally in the form of a managerial position or above. In the United States it is known as a corporate secretary. The Company Secretary is responsible for the efficient administration of a company, particularly with regard to ensuring compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements and for ensuring that decisions of the Board of Directors are implemented.



In Ghana, there is or was a public sector called Workers College and Vocational Schools. I belief that their functions where limited and probably they did not also train themselves to be abreast with the fast moving and changes of the Technological World. Hence the economic prospect in terms of Secretaryship or secretarial role was diminishing in the eyes of the people and at work places. They were also private established secretarial schools in the country which were training students in Secretaryship with the view of them occupying the front desk of an Office and also helping the executives.



Further more, some of the Polytechnics are running courses in Secretaryship and Management at the Higher National Diploma Level for three years duration of study but after which the progress in this area of study is limited in focus in the Public Universities Curriculum. Most universities in Ghana are not known to be running undergraduate programmes in Secretaryship but only though Jayee University College is known to be offering degree programmes in Secretaryship and Management as an Option. Hence, the career aspirations and top management positions in the country has no reference to the word “Secretary” in the decision making process in our economy due to the fact that probably we fail to look into or consider the role that Secretary can play within the mix of other line managers and top management roles. I think the problem is that we do not have the focus to factor in or emulate the professionalism of Secretary as part of the development decision making within the economy, which I think is a myth and luck of transformation and expansion due to advancement of the Technological World we are in today.



For instance, if all the top most public universities do not consider the role of a secretary as a faculty or department of study then in a long run we are not actually preparing the economy with the best and quality professionals and executives in the decision making process for the country. Why am I saying this, it is because with reference to the roles that are performed by the above positions namely Home Secretary, Secretary of State, UN Secretary General, and Company Secretary. Any role in an economy which reflects the word “Secretary” is able to perform well in the International front due to the capabilities and demands of Secrecy and compliance with policies and laws in the Country.



What we have being doing in this country is producing Secretarial students only to occupy the front desk to serve the executives or managers to do their work by typing, filing, making and receiving calls, receiving and processing of incoming and outgoing calls, receiving visitors, preparing the itinerary of the boss etc. This alone is what the public see every Secretary to be doing within our economy hence the career path has been limited due to the fact that, Universities are not interested or do not have the expertise to develop and grow this important title in the economy and also, there is no any ministerial department for its role in the country entirely. Therefore the value that Secretary can give to the state is not there since there is no any management position or department or ministry created within organisations and companies for its occupancy and delivery. For any business organisation or company or government department to function properly there should be a Secretary performing the line management or top management role for harmony, efficiency, effectiveness and compliance of policies.



Another myth that goes on the people’s mind is that Secretary Job is for only ladies or women and therefore the course is always looked down by male counterparts, hence it is obvious that majority pursuing such course are mostly female. This perception has to desist from people’s mind since the work of a Secretary demands both sex at all levels. There are also terminologies under the study of Secretaryship namely Stenographer Secretary, Typist and Receptionist. All these titles are basic functions of Secretarial Skills which is pragmatic.



My advice is that we need to create or establish a Secretary General of the State or National Secretary position as a new Ministry with Secretary General Department in this Country. With this, the country public sector management and Administration will be efficient without or with fewer lapses. This is because documents will be controlled and information flow will be of standard and communication systems and outputs will be counter productive. The word Secretary is from the word Secret, hence, it goes with Secrecy and compliance with law, which is paramount to every economy. If majority of the Ghanaian society study secretarial practice, then we would have a very respectful society because, that is what the Secretaryship is all about. It teaches you how to be smart, dress code in terms of neatness/tidiness, punctuality, respectful, greeting/welcoming people, pleasant so on and so forth. Hence, I would recommend that the study of Secretaryship must be introduced from the Junior High School Level all the way to the Universities so that in the future we will have young professionals and respectful society to spearhead the development and affairs of our Dear Nation - Ghana.



Written by: Mr. Abdul-Kahar Adam (Lecturer, Advocate and Consultant)

E-mail: ziblim.ak@googlemail.com