I recently had a discussion with a friend who is studying office technology and management at a polytechnic in Lagos, Nigeria. She recalled the difficulty of the past examination and paid particular attention to the last course exam. This exam was very tough and has been known to be responsible for a lot of carry-overs and extra years. I inquired of her the name of the course and she said: Shorthand.
Wow! Shorthand? Why in the world would such a course still be in existence? And compulsory too!
Relevance of shorthand
In the past, a manager would dictate to his secretary, letters that had to go out and the secretary was expected to take down everything said, with no errors. Shorthand was a useful way to do this back then.
But in this day and age we have several alternatives:
- The secretary can make use of a tape recorder
- The manager can express his thoughts in an email.
Another option, and one which is gaining ground, is that the manager expresses his thoughts in 140 characters or less and this secretary or executive assistant or subordinate is expected to understand what is required.
As we are aware (at least you should be), we are in the knowledge age. An age where mediocrity is quickly discovered and eliminated. An age where even the janitor is expected to know a few things about the goals and values of the organisation. An age where the secretary or assistant can carry out the role of the Manager because he/she has been around long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. An interesting age.
Do you think shorthand is still relevant or should it be removed from the school syllabus?
Do you think managers should expect so much from their employees?
Share your views, please…