Cohesiveness among students. The study of the North-West University in South Africa
South Africa’s higher education sector has been marred with acts of racial and gender-based violence which are largely extended from the broader society. Policies and reports were crafted and recommendation whose purpose was to reduce the scourge of the violence. Further to that, special editions were commissioned by various journals and marches and platforms for discourse were facilitated by both government and public sector universities. The underlying reason behind this is to build societies and Africa in which there is tolerance, trust, equality, sense of belongingness as well as appreciation of participation by all. However, the acts of disunity, sexism and racism which demonstrate lack of cohesion among the students continue to remain in the news headlines. The study is intended to determine the extent to which students attending at a multi-campus university in South Africa are cohesive. This study employed mixed-methods which involved focus group discussions and a closed ended questionnaire responded to by final year and post graduate students who were selected randomly. This study revealed that there is some level of cohesion among the students. Efforts employed by the academics and management at the different levels to unite and create space for the students to become one were appreciated by the students. The greatest concern was raised with regard to marginalisation of the GLBT community members. The study is concluded by proposing that efforts to create opportunities for solidarity among students should be clearly communicated to them through platforms that are attractive to them.
Keywords: Cohesion, gender equality, development, social capital