The Power of Education by Florence Akpokodje

Education is a powerful tool and it is impossible to over-emphasise its importance. Education means power over self and over a lot of things that we take for granted. Education is the process of receiving by the learner or imparting systematic instructions by a tutor, especially in an institution of learning such as a school, college or university.  There are two main participants in an educational process – the teacher and the learner/student.

It is a process of acquiring a body of knowledge, an enlightening experience which gives information about or training in a particular subject or group of subjects. It is the act of teaching or training. These various meanings help to point to the fact that education seeks to nourish the good qualities in man and draw out the best in every individual.

True education is beyond earning degrees and it is more than theoretical knowledge. It means inculcating moral values, positive thinking, self-awareness, processing time-sensitive information, sharing knowledge and skills,  attitudinal development of communal generousity and developing ethical values, which all help to bring positive changes in a society.

It is a common thing to have these terms such as teaching, schooling, tuition, pedagogy, andragogy, coaching, training, tutelage drilling, guidance, indoctrination and enlightenment, edification, development and improvement, all which are synonymous with education.  Though these words are synonymous with education, some may sound a bit extreme depending on the type of education.

So, what are the benefits of education? The benefits of education besides an awareness of good basic skills in communication, numeracy and science, opens the individual up for good time management, making good progress in the right direction, good human relationships. Education raises an awareness of common laws and compliance through the moral code, though its awareness, not necessarily a deterrent from crime. Some other benefits of education are to bring about a natural and lasting change in an individual’s reasoning ability and to understand and set achievable and desired goals. It facilitates us to investigate our own ideas and thoughts and makes it ready to express the self in various ways.

It helps individuals with desired objectives which can only be accomplished when individuals have information, right aptitudes and the right frame of mind fused together from their educational experience. In this way, education resembles a medium through which we can associate with various individuals and offer our thoughts by way of interaction enabling us to be productive individuals. Its function is to help tackle issues and develop inventiveness from which there is an initial need to gain proficiency with essential abilities. It is the fundamental learning of abilities and ideas that can make us increasingly innovative and become problem solvers.

Education also means helping people to learn how to develop new skills, conceive new ideas and disseminate such learning. Through education, the knowledge of society, country, and of the world is passed on from generation to generation, preserving history to a great degree. Education builds confidence, self-worth and a sense of fulfilment. In democracies, through education, children and adults are supposed to learn how to be active and effective citizens. It can be observed that empowered individuals, societies and countries have positioned themselves at the forefront of innovation, technological advancement and digital revolution.One of the key benefits of a good education is time management (TM). TM is hardly taught except in some specialist (professional) courses and in fact, is sometimes barely mentioned throughout students’ study time in the university, college or secondary school. We all seem not to realise that time is part and parcel of humanity. We all pass through time and into time and that is why a child’s birth is recorded to the closest seconds in most countries. Time is part of our life, we are born into it, dwell in it but management of it is a huge challenge for some of us including the author of this article. We need to be aware that good time management can help in times of opportunities and if education brings about opportunities, time and its management are most important. It is often said that when preparation meets opportunities, success is imminent. This is also true of some students who for whom studies have shown that in preparing for exams, some students are known to score low marks in exams because they did not plan at the right time to do their revision within a certain schedule under the right time.

It is therefore important to teach or learn about TM as part of education. Time management a very important aspect of life that a lot of people overlook. While personal effectiveness had been alluded to, time plays a significant part to accomplishing our life goals. In addition to that:

  • Time is a resource
  • Time is money- more valuable than money as money can be earned but any time lost can never be regained. Once this minute, second, hour or day is gone, it is gone forever.
  • Time flies – Time is elusive and easy to ignore
  • A stitch in time saves nine by tackling problems at the initial stages and promptly
  • Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today? Do it today! Avoid procrastination!
  • For some, tomorrow and tomorrow never comes

Safari (2017) an experienced Rwandan headteacher defined time management as “the art of arranging, organising, scheduling and budgeting one’s time for the purpose of generating more effectiveness and productivity.” He further said it is a priority-based structuring of time allocation and distribution among competing demands since time cannot be stored, and its availability can neither be increased beyond nor decreased from the 24 hours in a day. Safari also made it clear that distractions are also a cause of poor time management where students lose precious time in mundane activities. There are more references of the disadvantages of poor time management by Frank Rubaduka (Safari, 2017) who is of the view that time management impacts on teacher-student relationship leading to poor retention and poor performance of both parties. “This breeds bad grades because a student cannot be on the same page with the teacher if they attend class late or irregularly,” he adds. In general, poor time management affect work flow, work patterns and performance of individual workers at work places.

It is therefore very important that we

  • look at our current time management strategies;
  • identify and eliminate distractors;
  • work towards more effective time management strategies!
  • practise some time management of some mundane activities such as watching television dressing up time, chatting on the phone etc.

Time management is the process of organising and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high. Failure to manage time damages effectiveness and causes personal stress and for others.

It is necessary to identify some time-wasting culprits (time thieves, simply put). These come in different guises ranging from unclear objectives, no daily agenda, disorganization, interruptions and counter interruptions, inability to say “no”, external distractions such as social media,  internal distractions such as  lack of emotional well-being,  procrastination (the main thief of time), too many things to do at once or double booking oneself into more than one event, inappropriate multitasking and a silent killer of all is all work and no play. We all know the end of this saying.

How should we then use time?

Pickle Jar theory of Time Management (Wright, 2002),  is about allotting time according to priority or order of importance.   Wright explains his theory of Time Management as a Pickle Jar Theory.

Materials used to explain this theory are a pickle jar, big rocks, smaller rocks and sand.

  • The jar represents life itself
  • Categorize activities as the big rocks, which may be those things that money cannot even buy. These may be our family, health and well-ness, valuable friends, our goals in life, things we love and those causes we pursue or want to pursue.
  • Smaller rocks represent urgent things but not so important which may be our job (or course of study), casual hobbies, spending time with people we do not even like. These leave you with little time.
  • Sand may represent games, unnecessary things that never add value to much of our lives, thereby leaving us with very little time for meaningful things. These go on top of the smaller rock and creep all around the big rocks: these are activities thrust on us from all directions.

Wright (2002) advised that we get an empty pickle jar of any size. Now, put some large rocks in it. Put in as many as you possibly can until it is full shaking it to create more space for more of the rocks. Now, put in some of the smaller rock in until you can put no more. Lastly poor in as much sand as you possibly can. The sand will find its way around all the crevices left around the small and big rocks. Keep pouring in until it is full. This is how we use time.

An Example of Effective Time management (graphic representation) of a Mature Postgraduate Student

Prioritising tasks in order of importance 

Safari (2017) insists that students should list their goals and set priorities. This applies to all as well and not just students. “If you don’t know what you want to achieve in life, you can’t manage time well. Eventually, this will breed disappointment as well as people losing trust in you,” he adds. In this regard, knowing what is important to you is key and based on that you can categorize.

Designing a “to do” list could be so useful for each day. It helps with setting up proper goals and meeting each by ticking off as each is achieved.  A lot can be achieved as part of our educational experience if the following is adhered:

  • set your goals
  • list your obligations
  • set time limits
  • avoid new commitments that would not be a priority but take time from meeting your new goal and finally
  • do away with the spirit of procrastination as it just diverts their attention to unnecessary issues.

Education is key to success but not without proper time management.

Florence Akpokodje can be contacted here

One thought on “The Power of Education by Florence Akpokodje

  1. Very interesting read. It is important for people to know that time management skill is just as important as education itself.

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