Time management a huge issueWhat does Ramadan do to school work? [Archives:2004/787/Community]

November 4 2004

By Ramzi al-Absi
Yemen Times Staff

“Ramadan is a month of fasting.” This is repeatedly heard and said by many people during their working hours. The meaning is a relative matter; it may be produced to mean, “We shouldn't work during this holy month,” “we should have less work than usual” or “we should be much more sincere in our work.” It shows either dropping responsibilities or devoting efforts in doing their duties.
The Yemen Times asked some questions at Sana'a University to assess this philosophy, making Ramadan or fasting a reason for neglecting work and dropping tasks, in the field of education. We sought the students' attitudes and academics' views in this respect.
Many questions were asked to know whether the university educational process is affected in Ramadan. If so, is it a positive or negative influence?

Time management
One of the crucial observations that occur in the beginning of Ramadan is the time manipulation. Some of students and teachers face a difficulty in dividing their time, yet others do have the ability to invest time appropriately. What is unanimously agreed is that Ramadan is not to be blamed or murmured for how we organize our lives in Ramadan.

Osamah al-Ojail 'prefers not to study during Ramadan' mentioning that he has to keep time for “revising what has been studied in the past period and in reciting the Koran as well, for Ramadan is a great chance to do so.”
“It is very hard to stay up almost all night and to get up early in the following morning,” he commented.

Shawqi al-Qadasi agreed to the same idea of not attending classes, but for different reasons. “Lack of enough sleep makes me lose the ability to concentrate,” he said. He believes that Ramadan is not for studying, but rather worshiping, so time should be spent in that.

Mohammed al-Sofi suggested having “some free time between classes to allow the students to move between halls: we need sometimes five minutes to move from a hall to another.'
When discussing considering such matter by the teachers he said, “a teacher was about to fight with a student in a class because of the student's being one minute late.” He wonders whether it is fair and condemns the loss of time management.
Haihat frankly said, “I like to study in Ramadan because this month is not for sleeping and rest, but it is for worship.” She also sees that “to learn is the best way to worship Allah.”

“Timing is a problem,” Zaid al-Sharafi said, “we should wait up all night to study and come in the early morning, it is difficult to manage.”
Rima Abdulwahab Ali considered Ramadan as “the month of working, so it's our duty to work hard during this month.” It's normal to study. “Time is not wasted in this case. On the contrary, we make use of it properly,” she said.
Ahmed al-Nini presented the problem from another angle; he agrees 'to study but the reduction of the time of classes makes it difficult. Few teachers can complete a lesson, so he or she leaves the rest as a self study to be done by students themselves.'
Khadijah al-Thubhani hoped Ramadan to be a holiday. “We, the girls, face a great difficulty to manage our day time, we have to come to the university and to do some work at home,” she explained.
Another students said that his belief in the sacredness and blessings of Ramadan makes him ignore any trouble he may face.

Sadam Muhsin, an M.A. student, faculty of arts, talked about studying in Ramadan pointing out that, “it is a very wise policy to have the MA study in the afternoon, so there's no problem concerning the convenience of time.”
Mohammed al-Ba'adani, Head of General Yemeni Students Union at the branch of the faculty of languages, said that, “Studying is a phase of worship, though it is actually different in Ramadan in terms of the students' attendance. The university decided the study to be stopped on Ramadan 21st but that's extremely difficult for students to bear. The majority of students stopped attending classes before that.”
“There is no problem regarding timing except for those who exaggerate in staying up all the night,” he added. What surprised him is that “a doctor prevented a girl to attend his class because of being late for few minutes though he knew she was praying.”

Al-Ba'adani presented the problems of the students in the hostel saying that they find it difficult to secure their food during this month. “They should spend these holy days among their families, for anyway, though the university provided them with meals, food is not suitable,” he considerably expressed.

Month of enthusiasm
Prof. Thakur, Head of the English Department, Faculty of Arts, “as far as I'm concerned, there should be teaching during Ramadan also, certainly during the first two or three weeks. Islam is a great religion; Ramadan is a beautiful way of purifying ourselves. Religion doesn't make us idle or lazy. It gives us more energy, greater vitality, more of enthusiasm and more of courage to face the difficulties in life.”
“I personally think that, as Muslims do in India, for example, they adhere to the usual working hours. Fasting should make us more competent, better able to face the difficulties in life. It should give us better efficiency. Religion is a beautiful thing. It is not a pretext for idleness or the difficulties of life with courage, enthusiasm, energy and vitality. But of course when it's the festival time, there should be holidays. But I personally think that, as Muslims do in India and in many countries, it should not mean less work but it should mean at least as much work as at any other time, if possible more work of a greater and better quality.”

Students' duties
Dr. Ahmed Mohammed al-Quyadi, Department of English, Faculty of Education, said when asking about studying in Ramadan, “Ramadan, the month of historic and great achievements as far as Muslims are concerned, should not be thought of as the month of relax and long hours of sleep. In this month, the grand Badr Battle between the believers of the word of Allah headed by Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) and the non-believers, was fought. This great battle should be taken by us all as an example of hard labour and fight at the different fronts of life. This undoubtedly means fulfilling our tasks and duties and, at the same time, doing good to the others around us. If this is not appropriately done, the opposite can be the case because doing good to ourselves and others is a good sign of making life go as it should go. Ignoring this means that we are doing harm to ourselves and to others whom we may be responsible for in a way or another.
“Let me not talk a great deal without getting into what I want to focus on in these lines, which is the necessary and minimum things that university teachers and students should and should not do. The first and foremost requirement is that they should fast this is mentioned here just for the sake of reminding.
Not only this, but they should perform all the other religious duties as performing prayers, giving Zakat and Charity, continuous mentioning of Allah..etc. regarding the other duties that are performed daily apart from the previously mentioned ones, university students should do a number of daily routines, most of which are given below: Teachers and students should make good use of time.
This is related, among other things, to coming to class on time. This, of course, will make them able to do all their teaching and learning tasks as accurate and punctual as possible, it is very necessary that they should balance between their times of work, rest and sleep. This means it is healthy and wise to have a few hours of sleep at night which will make the coming working day more comfortable and productive.
The time of the university day, which is usually between 10 and 2:30, should also be used properly so that it can be used for reading the Holy Quran, doing light assignments. It is advisable that teachers and students should be generous to their family members, neighbours and the needy people since it is the month in which Muslims should be merciful on others taking Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) as their model.
Another important thing that university students should do specifically is that they should cooperate with their teachers and classmates which will make their learning a success.
Furthermore, students should be very attentive to their teachers' advice and instructions regarding the learning tasks assigned by their teachers. This will indicate that they are good learners who pay a lot of respect to their teachers. A specific advice to the teachers is that they should treat their students as equally as possible irrespective of the students' colour, sex and social background.
“Regarding the other side of the teachers' and students' tasks and duties that they should not do, I can highlight some points as follows: teachers and students should not (unintentionally or unconsciously) break their fast by bad deeds or bad words. This is at the moral level and physically they should not eat too much at night because, for some people, Ramadan means excessive eating which is not the real meaning of Ramadan. In other words, excessive eating will lead to feeling lazy and then ignoring very important and necessary tasks.
“From a pedagogical point of view, students should not come to class late because this is not a good sign of a university students. It causes interpretation to the teacher and the other students. To gain a lot from teachers, students should not ignore their teachers' instructions and advice.
University students are supposed to be at the level of their teachers' expectations in the way that they have to be well-behaved. This means that they should not drive their teachers crazy by being undisciplined, noisy and inactive inside the classroom. This will cause chaos inside the classroom and so effective learning will not take place.
Additionally, students should not show their teachers any sign of being unwilling or uncooperative to learn because this can destroy the teachers' interest and motivation to teach. More importantly, students should not sleep in class while the teacher is killing him/herself to get information across to the students' minds.
“From a behavioral point of view, university students should not disturb teachers and also other students by knocking the door of the classroom or even sometimes dashing into the classroom while teachers are teaching. Another important point worth mentioning here is that students should not intentionally or the classroom' or buildings' furniture and other fittings. More importantly, they should not leave the classrooms in a disorganized manner in terms of chairs and other things in the classroom.
“In conclusion, what university teachers and students should and should not do is an issue of great concern to all educationists. As far as I am among such educationists, I can say that this concern must be shared among all people concerned with the education business. Therefore, university teachers and students are urged to put their hands in each other's and cooperate so that they can complete each other for the purpose giving the learning process a great success.