Materials Management In Educational Establishment

Donald LUKMAN
12 min readFeb 7, 2023

Education is regarded as the center of every civilization. It is an important sector for economic, social, and cultural development aimed at satisfying the needs, desires and hopes of a society. Education broadens peoples‟ freedom of choice and action, empowering them to participate in social and political lives of their society, and equipping them with the skill they need to develop their livelihood.

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Education is the base for development. It lets the individual learner become a thinking, empowered and responsible citizen. However, education cannot play this role unless it is of highest quality and relevant to the development needs. In order to be successful in the intended quality, appropriate utilization of material, human, financial, time, and information resources play a vital role. The priority in the education system is quality and internal efficiency. The education goals and objectives can be achieved by means of using different resources as inputs. Among the resources, material resource is one of the key issues to get and utilize all important inputs and to run the task of education at all levels in the appropriate ways.

In other word, material resource in the school is a critical issue to accomplish different task which support in ensuring quality of education and to expand education.

Material resources are emphasized as one of the major determinant factors for the successful improvement of educational quality. In this regard, the policy document states that, “In order to promote the quality, relevance and expansion of education, due attention should be given to the supply, distribution and utilization of educational materials, education technology and facilities.”

In order to realize relevant education, important resource inputs, necessary to facilitate the whole instructional process, should be made available and well managed. Material resource management is among the main activities in which schools are inevitably incorporated. Material resource management is the activity of management which is dealt with the efficient flow of materials to, through and out of an organization for optimum use of materials.

The success of the teaching learning process is practically dependent up on how schools are capable of managing and utilizing their resources. That is effective and efficient management of school material resources may lead to success whereas improper and poor handling of material resources is liable to lead to failure. Among many other educational inputs, material resources play major roles in terms of achieving the intended educational objectives, so that great attention should be given for them.

In addition to this, the scarcity of educational materials in the required quality, quantity, and underutilization of the existing resources are some of the most essential factors that affect the accomplishment of educational objectives. Moreover, the scarcity of material resources and lack of clear school level policy of material resources management and direction are the major educational problems. Even though we are living in a time where the importance of material resource management activities are continuously increasing in utilization, recognition and importance: in Ethiopia, many organizations including educational organizations, have not yet understood the benefits that could be derived from efficient and effective material resource utilization. As a result, not only the concepts of material utilization but also material resource related activities in general lack attention. Material Resource Management (MRM) enables the efficient and effective utilization of materials in educational institutions. Thus proper management of material resources is very important in the management of education. This research topic is selected by the researcher because there are complain which are heard from teachers and non-teaching staff regarding the MRM in West Hararghe Zone (WHZ). They criticized with reference to the shortage, purchasing, and utilization of material resources.

MATERIAL RESOURCE

The term material resource has been defined by various experts in various ways. Material resources include furniture, equipment, books and teaching materials that largely determine the quality of education to be provided to students in combination of human resources. In connection to educational material resources, the material resources include renewable and immediate use items. Each item is used for specific objectives and the integration of all items can help to promote the teaching — learning process.

Material resources in general and educational material resources in particular are stated in different ways. Nevertheless, the central idea of all writers is almost the same. Although material resources are defined by different writers differently, they are the life blood of any organization. Thus, the objectives of any organization can be attainable with the great help of material resources. Furthermore, material resources are any inputs or consumable items that are fixed or recurrent objects used in the process of production. Material resources include all necessary supplies and equipment which are useful to maintain organizational production or service such as land, buildings (the classroom itself with its walls, windows, ventilators, together with their glass fittings, doors with their handles and hinges), furniture (desk, table, chairs, chalkboards, etc.). Material resources may also include machines, computers, books, manuals, geographical maps and globes, educational media like radio, television sets, overhead projectors, the audio visual aids and raw materials consisting organic and inorganic materials such as scientific apparatus or chemicals, any specimen of plants and animals. Generally, though different scholars defined and classified the concept of material resources differently on the basis of their understandings, material resources are the main inputs that assist the activities of teaching-learning process.

MATERIAL MANAGEMENT

Material resource management directs the flow of materials and services from the supplier, and keeps track of the supplier’s delivery and quality commitments, so as to avoid any disruptive surprises. Material resource management activities are frequently handled at the local or office level and involve regular communication with suppliers concerning requirements, such as order quantity and delivery dates. In addition to this, material resource management concerned with those management functions such as planning, organizing, purchasing, warehousing, distribution, inventory controlling and disposal of material resources. These activities form the framework for studying the nature and scope of management. Similarly, in schools the management of resource is mostly concerned with two basic elements; namely; human elements and non-human and other school properties. Moreover, material resources management is a balancing act. This means material management is a coordinating function responsible for planning and controlling materials flow. The objective of material resource management is to be able to provide what customers want, when and where they want it; thus it maximizes the use of the organization’s material resources. Furthermore, material resources management in relation to education may be defined as that aspect of managerial functions concerned with planning, purchasing, allocation, distribution, and controlling the proper use as well as maintenance of educational materials and facilities in order to realize the objectives of the education system; material resources management in general as “… organization and mobilization of all human and material resources in a particular system for the achievement of identified objectives in the system.” Thus, material resources management in general is concerned with managing human beings and materials. In concept of having one department responsible for the flow of materials, from supplier through production to consumer is relatively new. Although many organizations have adapted this type of organization system, there are still a number of organizations which do not have. Therefore, if companies wish to minimize total costs in this area and provide a better level of customer services, they will have to move in this direction. Moreover, a material resource management as a discipline is the flow of a system with comprehensive and feasible controls from procurement till the final goods reach at the hands of users. Hence, these activities of management of material resources require the supportive participation of students, teachers, supportive staff and the society including PTA and KETB. The effective management of materials is crucial to the performance of many organizations. Traditionally, management devoted more time to the expenditure of moneys for personnel, plant and equipment than for materials resources. In addition to this, material resources were thought of as cheap, readily available, and infinitely plentiful. However, the realities of the marketplace have changed this myopic view and have added material resource management to the list of major organizational functions. Furthermore, material resource management has a marvelous influence on the final cost of a product, because it handles the total flow of materials in an organization. As a result, the management of the materials flow encompasses the responsibility for planning, acquisition, storage, movement, and control of material resources. In past times, the development of professionals in the area of materials management was not given proper emphasis.

The materials management activities were considered as an ordinary activity and they were devoid of serious attention. However, currently, materials management is recognized as distinct area of organizations management and plays a vital role to achieve the intended goals of the organization. Generally, even though writers forwarded various functions of material resources management, for most writers the major elements of material resource management include planning, acquisition, and supplement, purchasing, production and controlling, allocation and distribution, inventory and disposal.

THE NEED FOR MATERIALS AND ASSESSMENT

Assessment appears to inform decision-making in relation to allocation of resources. In connection to this, the main reason for conducting a needs assessment is to inform an organizational decision about what to do in relation to a given situation. However, this is not as obvious as it may seem. Furthermore, most importantly, it implies recognition that there is a decision to be taken. Furthermore, an assessment process may include elements of both formal and non-formal assessment, and involves considering the facts of the situation in relation to organizational mandate, policy, strategy and capacity. Therefore, before conducting the material requirement planning it is advisable to assess for the need of the school in general and the need of the teachers and non-teaching staff in particular.

In addition to this, material need assessment help organizations in determining their material requirement. Thus, the main objective of any organizational planning and control system is to have the right materials in the right quantities available at the right time to meet the demand for the organization’s products or services. Moreover, the objective of the material need assessment is to determine what components are needed, when they are needed, and how much is needed to meet organizational objectives.

MATERIAL RESOURCE PLANNING

Planning for the material resources plays a great role for the achievement of overall goals of any organization. In connection to this, planning is the first function that all managers engage in because it lay the ground work for all functions, it defines the goals and alternatives, it maps out courses of actions that will commit individuals, departments, and the entire organization for days ,months ,and years to come. According to them planning is an important managerial function in order to attain organizational objectives. Regarding the above idea, material requirement planning is a logical, easily understandable approach to the problem of determining the number of parts, components, and material resources needed. It also provides the schedule specifying when each of these material resources, parts, and components should be ordered or produced. On the other hand, material resource planning is a requirement oriented system, whose objective is to deliver materials to the user department to meet their intended requirement.

A material planning is the scientific way of determining the requirements of raw materials, components, spares and other tools and equipment that go in to meeting the production needs within economic investment policies. The reason for material resource planning in educational institutions such as schools, TVETs, colleges, and universities is that it improves efficiency of the operation and training skills. Similarly, planning is crucial for educational and training institutes because of scarcity of resources and uncertainty of the future.

The term material requirement planning has different meanings to different people at different times. Some think of it as an inventory system, others as a scheduling system, and still others as a complete loop production system. However, it can be all of these things, depending on the organization and the stage of its development with material resource planning. Still, most would agree that material requirement advances systems thinking and tends to become the cornerstone of the production system, in this context, the educational institutions. Furthermore, within the limits of its condition, it will reveal what is needed, how many are needed, when they are needed, and when they should be ordered.

MATERIAL PURCHASES

Purchasing is the process of procurement of equipment, tools and materials at the right time, of right quality, in right quantity, from right source and at right price. These five Rs consideration enables the scientific purchases.

In this connection, purchasing refers to the activities required for obtaining the material resources and services that are needed by the organization. Moreover, purchasing is a responsible for getting the materials, supplies and equipment of the right quality, in the right quantities from the right source, at the right prices and at the right time popularly known as the five R‟s of the arts of efficient purchasing. Supporting the preceding idea; material purchasing for education and training requires the ability to negotiate the necessary resource and commitments from key personnel in various support organizations, cooperation with other staff units and individuals within the education and training center is vital to success. Productivity and efficiency of supply management is closely related to budgeting money that is available to a person or an organization and a plan of how it will be spent over a period of time and material and non-material wastages, skilled output standards of non-formal level technicians who is responsible to bring change in social and economic aspects.

Purchasing, supply management and procurement are used interchangeably to refer to the integration of related functions to provide effective and efficient materials and services to the organization. Thus, purchasing is not only concerned with the standard steps in the procurement process such as: the recognition of need, the translation of that need into a commercially equivalent description, the search for potential suppliers, the selection of a suitable source, the agreement on order or contract details, the delivery of the materials or services, and the payment of the suppliers. However, responsibilities of purchasing may include receiving, inspection, storage, materials handling, and disposal.

Purchasing is the managerial activity that goes beyond the simple act of buying. It includes research and development the proper selection of materials and services, follow up to ensure proper and timely delivery, inspection to ensure quantity and quality, development of proper procedures, methods and forms, control traffic, receiving, storekeeping and accounting operations related to purchases.

MAINTENANCE OF MATERIAL RESOURCES

In many organizations, including educational institutions there are materials that are not functioning due to lack of maintenance. School uses these inputs by identifying its drawback and giving appropriate maintenance to achieve the intended goals through the services attained from material resources.

Maintenance means to hold, keep, sustain or preserve equipment, building or structure to an acceptable standard of serviceability. Therefore, the objectives of maintenance are to ensure that equipment, building, and its services can perform its designed functions for the desired period of time with a high degree of reliability. Moreover, the main objectives of maintenance are prevent and slow down the rate of deterioration of materials, enhance serviceability of materials, make improvements in serviceability of materials, and preserve buildings and its services in good serviceable condition.

CONCLUSION

Based on the major findings, the following conclusions were drawn. Materials management functions were not implemented at the same extent in secondary schools. Its practice in planning of material resources, in purchasing of material resource, and in utilization of material resources was average. On the contrary, the performance of secondary schools in handling and storage of material resource, the maintenance of material resources, and effectiveness of disposal of unused materials, and existence of material management guideline and its utilization was low. The extent to which the teachers and non-teaching staff involved in material resources management was average. The involvement of teachers and non-teaching staff in the activity ofneeds assessment for material resources to be purchased was average. It was the principals of secondary schools who decide the needs for material resource requirement without assessing the needs of the users. Their participation was found average in need assessment, planning, purchasing and utilization of material resources in secondary schools. Whereas, their participation in handling and storage, maintenance, and disposal of unused materials was low. This was mainly because there was absence of encouraging teachers and non-teaching staff by school leaders and lack of awareness to participate actively in the functions of material resources management. The guideline for purchasing material resources did not exist in the schools. There was an absence of a guideline for the proper utilization of material resources in the secondary schools. There was no guideline to dispose unused materials except for the unused text books. With respect to the means used to assess the need of materials to be purchased, only principals assessing the materials to be purchased in their school. In assessing the need of materials, school was participatory at average level. The identified needs of materials were not approved by the individual who had the same position. It was approved differently in secondary schools. The factors that hinders materials management in secondary school were the absence of proper guideline for the appropriate purchasing and utilization of materials, the absence of the participation of stakeholders in the management of material resources, lack of proper stores in secondary schools, lack of specific responsible body for material resource management and lack of appropriate manpower for respective functions of material resource management. These factors hamper materials management differently in different schools. Besides, lack of training for principals and non-teaching staff in relation to materials management functions which in turn might impede the accomplishment of educational goals in general and the quality of education in particular also observed as another hindering factor.

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