An Analysis of Non-Instructional Time Management of Undergraduates in Southern Nigeria

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The study probed the management of non-instructional time by undergraduates in Southern Nigerian Universities. A research question was raised and one hypothesis was proposed for the study. All undergraduates in ten Southern Nigerian Universities during the 1999/2000 session comprised the population of the study. The sample was made up of 535 undergraduates selected by simple random sampling technique based on the criteria of field of study, place of residence, sex and martial status from three conventional universities. An instrument-titled "Management of Off-instructional Time by Nigerian Students' Questionnaire (MOITNUSQ)' was utilized to elicit information form the respondents. The generated data were analyzed by the use of simple percentage, graphs and chi-square statistic. The findings of the study indicate that Nigerian undergraduates manage non-instructional time poorly in favour of social and economic activities and in disfavour of academic work. Furthermore the bulk of time spent on social activities by the students is focused on religious activities. In addition students were homogenous in their management of non-instructional time since there were no variation in the use of time based on the criteria of sex, field of study, place of residence and marital status. In view of the findings of the study, recommendations were made to aid students to manage non-instructional time more efficiently and effectively.

INTRODUCTION

Time as a resource affects all aspects of University Education. Other resources need to be converted to units of time before they are used in the University system. Personnel, material and financial resources are acquired for use in the University for specified period of time. The processing of undergraduates to attain the desired out put (learning) also has time limit. Thus the allocation and management of time is crucial to the attainment of the educational objectives of a nation.

In the University, students determine how to allot time to the various activities in their life. Students prioritize time spent on activities based on their values, needs and expectations. However, a student's distribution and utilization of time tends to affect the accomplishment of personal and organizational goals as well.

At the primary and secondary school levels, students are guided by school authorities and their parents to use time by providing a guideline for time utilization. Specific time is allotted for lectures, household chores, recreation, individual studies etc. At these levels, students are compelled to adhere to the school timetable. At the University level, students are regarded as adults and are assumed therefore to be capable of making appropriate decisions on time allotment and utilization. However, research findings have shown that students in tertiary institutions particularly first timers find management of time stressful and the most difficult aspect of university life to cope with. (Oquinonez et al 1997).

University students are saddled with the responsibility of assigning time to the various demands of school life made on them. Lecture and practical periods are the only time specified by institutional authority for university students. Students are expected to determine the time to be allotted for activities such as individual and group studies, recreation, household chores, religious activities and at times economic activities depending on their socio-economic origin. The time students allot to academic activities vary in terms of flexibility within the day, duration and space. Time resource like other resources is also limited. Students observe that they are always short of time to adequately attend to all the demands made on them by academic activities. Eiche et al (1997) reported that students perceived that a lack of time is a barrier in terms of their adjustment to university life.

The primary motive of students in the university is to acquire knowledge, values and skills that will make them relevant in the labour market and their services to society at large in space and time-ceteris paribus. …