Attending school in the evening is one of the common trends in higher education today, especially owing to the fact that most of such students are employed.. The situation is even more worrisome because research shows that evening students could incur some mental and physical problems resulting from overworking during day and studying at night.
According to the sciencedaily.com, evening students show signs of fatigue mixed with sleep debt during the week , sleep compensation during the weekends, wake ups irregularities and late sleep wake schedules, which at the end lead them to be forgetful in class as a result of sleep wake cycles.
This implies that those that find themselves in this situation need guidance on how to cope with the two worlds.
Christelle Bwiza, a psychologist at Hope and Homes for Children Rwanda, says, whenever the body is exhausted with little rest it will always impact the normal functioning of the body.
She advises that evening students need to prioritise activities and scale the importance of activities so that they get enough time to rest.
“There are some activities which are less important than others such as chatting on social media platforms. They can use this time usually spent on trivial activities to get some rest so that they are not mentally exhausted due to stress and overworking,” says Bwiza.
Janvier Fatisonga, the dean of students and career advisor at University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies, says the most challenging thing about evening studies is that students are always tired since most of them are working class.
“It’s a hard experience but manageable. An hour’s rest in the course of the day is good enough to produce good impact both at your work and studies,” he says.
Desire Nimpano, a lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University, Kigali, says for him the evening programme is tricky and requires lecturers to use a logical framework and special methodologies to help students cope.
He says lecturers should be supportive because most of these cases are private students who pay tuition fees for themselves.
Nimpano emphasises that lecturers should train the evening students on the self-driven learning style so that they are able to assess their own learning needs, goals and taking personal decisions about their academic success.
According to David Kwizera Rutaboba, a teacher at Ndego Secondary School in Kayonza it is essential to build capacity for research and self-esteem for such students.
James Gakire, a graduate from University of Rwanda, says sports over the weekend could work to relieve the stress evening students face.
Jeanne Francine Mujawimana, an evening student at Jomo Kenyatta University who works with Family Health International, says evening classes are manageable, but tougher during exams and when handling assignments.
“So personally, I have to make sure that I timetable myself well to avoid academic failure resulting from combining the two,” she says.
Eric Rukundo, an evening student at University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies, says the main challenge is when the schedule at work conflicts with the timetable for evening classes.
“The other challenge is that both teachers and students are tired by evening and are likely to find it hard to concentrate.