Helping working students help themselves
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This paper presents the relationship between academic achievement and job performance of working students in four different colleges and universities in Intramuros, Manila. Using an FGD involving working students from the Intramuros Consortium, the study tries to understand how working hours affects their academics and employment and things that should be covered by the proposal policy, as beneficial for those who are working students. The policy will uncover the different perspectives coming from working students who funds themselves for school. Through the use of Social Capital Theory, this study hopes to provide an understanding of the dilemmas, contradictions, and challenges working students face by providing a policy that could be adopted in the policy-making sphere—the Local or National Legislative body. The results reveal that although working students are having a difficult time with their working hours they still manage to balance their priorities. But with that, they still need emotional support, guidance and valuable information they need; we expected to improve their situations as individuals.
Keywords: Working students, Working hours, academic achievement, employment learning, policy.
Education is seen to be the best way to be successful, though it is not given to everyone. Education has been a privilege, because of some factors that hinder a student to pursue education. Because of such, many would engage
into part time work while studying. Students who are not yet capable of doing two such serious things at the same time would find difficulties in balancing the competing demands between work and education. This analysis on working students thus includes the reasons of having a part time work. In the study of Oi I (2005), The major reasons for having a part time job were ‘meeting living expenses’, ‘gaining job experience’ and ‘earning extra money to spend’.
Since the working students are facing into lot of things in achieving their goal, they somehow felt disappointed about the government in action forwards them. Benefits from the local government are not usually part of their goal in engaging part time work while studying, yet it is necessary because they are still normal students who are just aiming for successful future.
Basically, engaging in part time work will affect the academic status of a student. Having engaged into two commitments will also affect their working hours. Thus, the hours enjoyed by a working student will affect both the academic achievement and employment learning of a student. What they may learn from academics, may also be the reason for their excellence in employment (McGaha, 2010). That would be considered as a great result for a working student, if they are using what they have learned in their study, it will lead them to the success in their chosen field of endeavour (Oi I.et.al. 2005). Overall, the purpose of this study is to provide benefits for the working students such as, they should only be working for 6 hours instead of 8 hours per day and as much as possible no tax. With that, this policy will help them from resource allocation. Specifically, the objectives of the study are to (1) determine how working hours affect the academics and employment of working students, (2) understand how employment affects the academics, and lastly (3) recommend possible policies for the welfare of working students.
In general, this study then contributes to growth and competitiveness in education and innovation. Public administration has to do with this and the inclusion of working students in the agenda of the government is expected to yield favourable results.
2.0 Theoretical Background
2.1. Theoretical Framework
Social capital is a useful theory for understanding the experience of working class, first generation college students (Moschetti.et.al.2008). This theory explains the relationships of network that could possibly be of great support for those working class college students in a social situation, and could help students in such peculiar environment (Attinasi, 1989; Moschetti.et.al.2008) Social Capital Theory looks into how emotional support, guidance and valuable information serve as important “capitals” of the students in such social situation and peculiar environment, here in considered as the education environment. Students, who have an entirely utilitarian approach to work, and simply work to earn money to fund their social life, typically gravitate to the jobs in the leisure and retail sectors (Richardson, 2009). This suggests that a part time student who works with the use utilitarian approach is holding the proper course of action, which will maximize overall happiness, which defines the leisure that they may get from their own earnings.
Anyone who proposes a new variable to study policy implementation (and by analogy public policy in general) should also propose two variables that should be eliminated (Mejer, 2009; Meier, 1999). Policies that are being implemented should always be beneficial to the citizens. Policy makers are eager to pursue such policy that is for their citizens, but not specifically for the future endeavours of the society, such as students. Working students are the main focus of this study as it tries to propose a policy for their improvement.
This study has taken into consideration the social situation of students in their peculiar environment. In relation to the social capital theory, this study argues more on the support needed by the working student, and that will be included in the policy recommended. By aiding part-time students’ dilemma, as they are provided with emotional support, guidance and valuable information they need, we expected to uplift their conditions as individuals. This study focused on the situation of the working students in the four higher education institution in Intramuros. Those schools are Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Mapua Institute of University and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. Basically, participants in the FGD were based with the following criteria: they should have maximum of 15 units load per semester; they should come from a low income family (Below 13,000 Php monthly income); funding themselves, working for a maximum of 5-9 hours a day and they are 18-22 years old.
2.2. Literature Review
2.2.1. Working Hours of Part time students
The Higher Education Statistics Agency in UK defines part-time students as any student not registered on a full-time basis (Francis.et.al.2009). It seems not to be a normal student in the sides of their campus. Part-time students tend to be invisible because they study at home or only attend evening lectures, and are often not recognized as constituting part of the student body (Jamieson.et.al.2009).
Most of the part time students working are having a difficult time dealing with their working hours. The number of hours that students work during term time that is influenced by what motivates them to work (Richardson, 2009; McGaha, 2010). Since they are always under time pressure, there’s a lot of chance that full time students will achieve more than they could do. It suggests that part time students will obviously undergo some difficulties in balancing their allocated time and resources. Work provides adolescents with a number of benefits, such as professional qualification, family income, financial independence, and feelings of responsibility (Mielnik, 1987; Breinbauer, 2005). Nevertheless, the literature shows several negative impacts of a too early entry into the job market, such as poor educational development and insufficient time for extracurricular leisure and social activities befitting the age (Fischer.et.al.2008).This explain that there would be a great impact if a student has work taken together with study and social life. Obviously a non-working student has the freedom to have a long sleep, since they have less commitment than those working.
The sleep duration of part time students and full time students is different. A number of studies have demonstrated that the sleep duration of adolescents during the week is 1.5 h shorter than during the weekend (Strauch & Meier, 1988; Andrade et al., 1993; Gau & Soong, 2003; Teixeira.et.al.2007). That could possibly affect their life being a student. Previous studies found students who both work and attend school undergo a partial sleep deprivation that accumulates across the week (Fischer.et.al.2008). Thus, daytime sleepiness of workers is moderately higher in the evening (Teixeira.et.al.2007).
Many students from the West that comes from working-class origins, come from families headed by working-class adults, and have attended schools in working-class communities (Ballon.et.al.2006). It doesn’t necessarily mean that public school has a lot of poor students; they are number one in having part time students. There are a lot of reasons that students are taking part time work while studying, some study discussed that it is for the student’s experience only, so that they may have new learning that can be applied into their practice of profession, and confidence for taking a position (Hoy, 2011).
This paper does not argue with the sleep that a working class student should and could have in their entire commitment with work, study and society. Rather, it argues that working hours of every part time student affect everything they have in their life. Time management is really a hard thing for them to establish. Social capital as mentioned earlier in the theoretical framework is very useful. One example is that, students will have a really hard time to manage their time and resources, with those emotional support, valuable information and guidance will aid students, in this matter. It is very useful to know what time management could contribute to the learning that a part time student engaged in employment will have.
An efficient way in responding to the situation of part time students requires action by both universities and the legal profession. This paper argues that, if other countries from the West are giving importance to those who are in working class, why won’t Philippines implement a policy in a Local Government Unit. This study focuses on the reasons of why working class should obtain advantages in form of a policy from the Local government, as well as the insights of the students as regards to their balance of time, study, resources, and social life.
H1: Employment learning and Academic achievement is affected by the working hours and academic hours of a Part time student.
2.2.2. Employment Learning
The authentic workplace experiences of paid part-time work were identified as assisting in securing a range of educational purposes associated with students’ learning about work, the world of work and post school options and path ways (Billet, 2007). Study has found that every part time student was dealing with their learning through being employed as a part timer. It is how employment (e.g., job satisfaction), applied academic (e.g., math and literary skills), and extracurricular (e.g., sports, books, volunteerism) factors contributed to aspiration (McGaha, 2010).
Part time work contributes to the socialisation and development of adolescents, through which they begin knowing how the world of work is organized in order to facilitate career decision making and job transitions (Billet, 2007). Western countries like UK, US and Scotland conducted several studies that give balancing of time and commitment a conclusion that it is possible to value learning in employment. (Reference)
This study argues on what effect does attending school while holding a job have on work performance? If studying and working at the same time has a negative effect on either or both of these activities, then both employers and educational institutions may need to change so that any negative effects are mitigated or alleviated (Pereles, 2007). Several studies from the West conclude that learning through employment is deeply possible, somehow put them in a negative situation of managing their resources while in between of their peculiarity in work study environment (Wooden, 2008; Vickery, 2008; Gorlewski, 2007).
H1A: Employment learning and Academic achievement are affected by the working hours of working students
2.2.3. Academic Achievement
Many students identify academic achievement as an important value (Robbins, Wallis & Dunston 2003). According to Dounay (2006), one in three individuals obtains a college degree. It is possible that math and literacy skills are positively associated with college aspirations. Similar to job training, skilled individuals might see the value of education in their career success (FitzPatrick.et.al.2010).
Having a part-time job can bring financial rewards, more practice at handling money, a track record of successful experience, identification of job interests, time management and interpersonal skills, and greater understanding of the world of business and confidence, all of which are advantageous to their academic studies (Oi I.et.al.2005).
Another thing is the educational aspirations, this make sense for those part time students. There is no unreasonable thing to propose that every part time student like in Texas, educational aspiration as their motivation in working while studying. If asked to explain why educational achievement is used to select workers to hire, employers will respond that the more education one has, the more productive a worker is—a conclusion also supported by research (Pereles, 2007).
This study focused on how the working hours affect academic achievements of part time students. Is it harmful to the idea of gaining achievement in academic while working? It is important for those part time students working to know how they will balance their commitments. It’s a serious thing that part time students while engaged into two or more commitment, still manage to have academic achievement. This is another reason for the policy maker take in charge in giving them benefits upon working hardly but not fairly.
H1B: Employment learning affects academic achievement
Working students are seen to be vulnerable to employment exploitation. There are some factors that hinder their early succession: they have limited work skills, they have high unemployment and underemployment, and lastly they have poor knowledge about their rights (Nyland 2009). Few qualitative studies of undergraduates from similar socioeconomic circumstances have since been published thus much remains to be known about such students and which programs, policies, and institutional practices enable them to access particular sectors of postsecondary education (Harper.et.al.2011). Emphasis most often is placed on exploring barriers rather than facilitators of college opportunity for lower-income and minorities populations (St. John et al. 2011).
There has been a case in Slovenia wherein the Student’s Association of Slovenia held a rally in Ljubljiana on May 19th to protest against the increase of student employment’s taxes and limit the number of hours that students are allowed to work. As an aid for the hardships of working students, the government should focus on their benefits. “General agreements that students can benefit financially and academically from part time employment, but 15 hours per week is a critical point beyond which students’ studies and well-being are likely to suffer (Neill.et.al.2004; Nyland.et.al.2009). Given the dire situation of those working students, they should become a part of politician’s debate in creating a good policy.
H2: Working hours and academic hours, Employment learning and Academic achievements are covered by the policy recommended for part time students
2.3. Conceptual Framework
The current study approached the subject matter qualitatively to describe the effects of working hours in the employment learning and academic achievement of working students. . The study used descriptive method via focused group discussion (FGD).
This study concerns working students in the Intramuros Consortium, since the Social Capital Theory states that there should be a network that could possibly be a great support in implementing a policy. The participants came from a low income family (Below 13,000 Php monthly income); funding themselves to school, having a maximum of 15 units per semester, working for a maximum of 5-9 hours a day and they are 18-22 years old. On the FGD, the researcher invited 3 or more participants from each school. Participants from the FGD answered questions like “Will they want to have a policy for them?”, “What are the negative and positive effects of the working hours of a part time student?” and “How does it affect the employment learning and academic achievement of a part time student?”
Data gathered from the interview was used in analysing the common answers of the respondents according to how they handle resources such as working hours, employment learning and academic achievement. The FGD was analysed thematically considering common themes and trends like the advantages and disadvantages of working students, also the allocation of resources.
4.0 Results and Analysis
4.1. Emotional Support as Capital
Since working students are having difficulty dealing with their commitments, they need emotional support as their capital. This support is the understanding approach that the government should have for them. There are a lot of consequences in the employment and academics of working students. One of the participants from the FGD emphasized their need for emotional support as “…There are Profs that are not considerate enough to let working students feel that they are being understood by them so, as with our willingness to study. But there are professors who will give us to choose between work and study.”
Participants from the FGD stated that having a part time work while studying can hinder their early success. It will surely prolong their stay in college because of the limited number of units that they can afford to take per semester.
“I have few units this semester because of work. Usually we are taking 24 units or more but now I only took 15 units. Instead of 4 years in college, I will have one more year and what more if I fail subjects?”
Most of them agreed that they are experiencing sleepiness during their classes because they lack sleep. They also agreed with the thought of one of the participants, who considered choosing work over their study. As explained in the theoretical framework, students who have an entirely utilitarian approach to work, and simply work to earn money to fund their social life, typically gravitate to the jobs in the leisure and retail sectors (Richardson, 2009).
“Sometimes, I use to think that working alone is much better than studying also because of money. But I know it isn’t right to think that way. It’s just I don’t have financial problems anymore”
The participants were also asked about the change on behavior that they have acquired from being employed and they agreed with the same point, stating that they became more responsible as individuals
“…I have learned how to budget my money. Before, my parents used to say that I should keep my money budgeted and 100php isn’t enough for me. After I enter working, I realized that earning money is never an easy job; 100php has been 1000php in my point of view.”
As regards to their employment, most of the participants said that they have experienced different consequences in their offices. Part of these consequences was the discrimination that they got from their co-workers who tend to degrade them every time.
“I have experienced when I am new employee of that company they used to abuse me. It’s the feeling of they are degrading me…It seems that they don’t have consideration, they give too much orders and I cannot say no to.”
Most of the participants were aware of the employment exploitation based from their own experiences. They thought about the vulnerability of working students in terms of maltreatment. They also experienced discrimination because of their situation.
“For me, they are not taking things into consideration because I’ve learned from my past lesson, that there are three levels of an organization, the top management, the middle management and the lower class. And we belong to the lower class, staff and being a staff member, mean that you should follow the orders from the top management as well as the middle management. I’m aware that it is my responsibility to follow orders from the top.”
This has been the gap between the undergraduate workers and professionals. But most of the working students in fast food chains that the researcher asked, agreed with one another that they did not experience maltreatment from their work. Since they have said that McDonalds knew that they are working students, considerations were given. There are a lot of companies who choose not to hire working students because of their vulnerability, that’s why some working students did not tell their company that they are studying while working in order to maximize working hours to sustain their educational needs. The last theme below will explicitly show data gathered from the three set of FGD regarding the benefits of the recommending policy.
4.2. Guidance as Capital
Most of the working students in the first set of FGD answered that they are really having a difficulty dealing with their working hours. On the second set of FGD conducted, majority answered that they are not having a difficult time dealing with working hours and on the last set of FGD, only one said that she’s having a difficult time dealing with her working hours. Most of the working students were experiencing struggles due to the limitation of their schedule. It is either they are late in class due to the working hours or they are late in work because they had to do things concerning their academic activities. Here’s one statement from a working student in Mapua
…after being late in class your professor will then ask you regarding the tardiness and you’ll answer them that you’re a working student, but right after that they will screw you and neither consideration nor sympathy will be given to you.
The participants from the FGD were not able to understand the side of their professor because of stress from work and study. Though it is not an excuse for most of the professors, the working students are still appealing their side. We can’t conclude that working in short time units will lead to academic success and that the successful students do not need to work in long time units.
Time management has a lot to do with the lives of working students. Participants from Lyceum of the Philippine University mostly work in McDonalds, Bayleaf Hotel. It is an establishment open for cooperation with the work and study schedules of the working students. That makes the difference between the working students on other fast food chains and call centers. Despite their struggles with their working hours, they still continue working for the sake of their education.
“The establishment wherein I am employed, they used to fix my sched and they’re being considerate enough in balancing my working hours and studying hours. I still have allowance in time because I can manage it.”
Most of them agreed that the major effect of their work hours is sleepiness during class hours. Thus work hours affect the entire life as working students, even if the shifts are between 5 to 8 hours, it does not matter. They tend to be more responsible to balance things so that they will come up with a performance that will satisfy both commitments. And with regards to their punctuality, they should also be guided by their schedule in order to perform well in class and in the workplace. Due to the strict schedule of the participants, they often come late in class or sometimes in work.
“There, I’m always late because of small period of time in fixing myself before going to school…Sometimes I’m late at work because I have projects or assignments in school that should be done within the day or that particular time, so I need to sacrifice. I need to stay longer time at school. I’m not used to manage my time efficiently but I am improving.”
Working students are more prone to sickness than those working or studying alone. Because they have strict schedules and work commitments at the same time, there is a greater possibility of being sick. As part of the guidance that working students must have, health should be considered as a priority. Participants are asking for health benefits, because if they are going to be deprived with such benefits, it will affect their performance, punctuality in particular. If there will be proper guidance given to these working students, they will be satisfied with the service that the government can assist them with. The next theme will provide other things related to the emotional support and guidance that every working students need. 4.3. Valuable information as Capital
Most of the working students engaged in different jobs admitted having an edge over their counterpart, because they have chosen part time jobs that are in line with the programs that they are taking up in college. There is this one participant who used the job to enhance his skills in addition to the learning he gets from the school.
“I’m a Mass Comm student, in my work I am used to communicate with people and the enhancement of my speaking skills.”
Participants are learning from employment and it is useful in their lives. These things that they have learned from employment became valuable information that will make them aware of things that they should know, like for example, the things they have learned that are related to their programs, it shall defy their advantage as working students.
“It’s the learning part and I’m having a courage that would make you realize that after graduation this will be my world. Having a part time job will give a lot of knowledge.”
There are several topics under this variable. These are tax exemptions and working hours, as it is proven that working hours really affect their academics, they all agree that it has to be lessened. With regards to the tax exemption, they were asked if they agree, majority answered yes, they were but two participants disagrees.
“No, because I think, being a Filipino citizen it is our part it is our responsibility and we are working and at the same time earning money, we should be responsible citizens. We should do this to help the Philippines to glow. Youth are the coat of our motherland. I think if we could start not paying tax, there’s a possible that we will abuse it sooner.”
Hence, that they agreed to lessen the tax instead of having none at all. Participants also wanted to ask for health benefits for them. Because working students struggle with their tasks and working hours, they also have limited hours of sleep, they become more prone to sickness, which is why they are also asking for health benefits. When they were asked about the benefits that they wanted to be part of the policy to be recommended, here are their responses
“lessen the tax, I think that’s a better way the government would help us. Like what I have said, it’s our obligation to pay tax, it is our responsibility. But government can help us if they will allow us to have less tax, as we are working to sustain our education, so I think that’s the best way.”
The respondents exercised their freedom of expression as they all answered according to their perception regarding the matters that involved their work and studies. The data explains everything that will be considered to produce such a policy. Thus, it involves the effects of working hours for both academics and employment that will soon come up with formulating a policy based on the ideas and perspectives given to them by their experiences.
This study attempted to determine the effects of working hours of part time students who are working in their academic achievements and employment learning. Thus it follows the participants’ view on the policy being recommended. Remarkably, in great situation beliefs like in the Philippines, working college students struggle since it is not normal in our culture to work while studying. The positions of the participants from Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Mapua Institute of Technology and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila regarding the effects of their working hours are completely related with each other. Based on their struggles and successes, they came up with one reason, that working hours affected both their academics and employment. The former affects the later in a sense that both have this similar crisis on time management.
Working hours affects the academic achievements of a working student because he cannot manage his time professionally. The vulnerability of the students when it comes to time management has always been their dilemma in employment exploitation. Their capabilities are not enough to satisfy their employers. Participants who work in call centers are more prone to discriminations unlike those who work in fast food chains. However, all of the participants from the three sets of FGD were certain with their answers that their works contribute to their success. However, having limited units per semester does not hinder their early success but in fact train them to be more rational.
According to the Social Capital Theory (Moschetti.et.al.2008) that explains the relationships of network which could probably be a boundless support for those working college students in a social situation and could help students in a strange instance. Participants from the FGD were chosen based on the set criteria: working while studying under the four schools in the Intramuros Consortium, coming from a low income family (below 13,000 Php monthly income), funding themselves to school, having a maximum of 15 units per semester, working for a maximum of 5 to 9 hours a day and ranging from 18 to 22 years old. Most of the participants are seeking health benefits as they tend to be more vulnerable than the full time workers for they have two commitments at the same time.
Hence, the importance of this study is to discuss and understand the experiences of working students which will show their need for a policy and to give them emotional support, guidance and valuable information that they need. With the help of the parameters used taken from the participants, the researcher was able to formulate a conclusive idea. There’s this Special Program for Employment of Students or SPES that provides helpful opportunities for those students who would like to work during summer season and Christmas season. The main objective of the program is same with the aims of this study, in which to develop the intellectual capacities of children of poor families and harness their potentials for the country’s well-being.
Specifically, the Program aims to help poor but deserving students pursue their education by providing income or augment their income through encouraging their employment. But the difference is that, this proposal shall take effect throughout the year. This study will help readers to understand the struggles of working students satisfied by their need of a policy. The concern for equity must be extended to all eligible students in an effort to assure the country of an educated, capable workforce into the foreseeable future (Moschettie.et.al.2008). Just as shown in this study, the recommendation policy is beneficial in working. Since working students does not have any part in the Labor Code of the Philippines, this paper shall be patterned to the SPES, but it shall be effective for long time not for seasonal. This policy shall focus on the low tax for the advantage of the future endeavours of our country, less number of working hours from the required 8 hours to 6 hours only and more health benefits like giving health cards and free monthly check up for working students.
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Shiela Marie E. Morao graduated her high school at Siena College of San Jose. She lives in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan but she resides in Manila for her College. She will be finishing a degree on AB Political Science at Colegio de San Juan de Letran this March 26, 2013.