- Social integration outcomes of university students under urbanization in the Wa Municipality, Ghana.   click here to open paper content311 kb
by    Derbile, Emmanuel | derbile_uds@hotmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper underscores that both positive and negative social outcomes are
associated with the social integration of temporary university student
immigrants in the Wa Municipality of north western Ghana and this requires
a holistic approach to planning for dealing with the emerging issues.
Over the past decade, the Wa municipality has experienced an unprecedented
rate of urbanization, partly attributed to the immigration of a temporary
university student population of the University for Development Studies
(UDS). Most of these students are accommodated in shared private
residential accommodation in the city and its suburbs. This has brought
students close to the indigenous people, the Waala, leading to close social
and economic interactions. In the context of social integration theory, the
issue this paper explores is the social outcomes arising from the
integration of university students in indigenous Waala communities in the
Municipality. Drawing primarily on qualitative data from in-depth
interviews of landlords, students, staff of the University and traders,
this paper underscores that social integration outcomes have been both
positive and negative, the latter being predominant. In the positive
domain, most university students (over 4000) with varied ethnic backgrounds
who do not gain residence in University student hostels are accepted to
live in shared rental accommodation arrangements by indigenous Waala
families annually across the city. In addition, many young indigenous Waala
people, particularly, young girls have been inspired to attain higher
education by their exposure to university students who they consider as
role models in higher education.
In the negative domain, the Waala community frown on the general life style
of students and this lead to tensions and conflict between the students and
their Waala host families. What is even worrying to the Waala community is
that their children are adopting [simplequote]un-Islamic[simplequote] and
or unacceptable life style of students, including [simplequote]fashionable
dressing styles[simplequote] that encourage some extent of nudity.
Furthermore, these social tensions and conflicts have led to threats of
ejection of students from shared tenancy arrangements and or ejection of
students without appropriate compensations per rental agreements. Also,
landlords take advantage of the situation of students and apply higher rent
to them while at the same time apply lower rates to indigents and or non-
students for the same type of residential accommodation. In extreme cases,
landlords apply even much higher rents to targeted students when rent
renewals are due simply as a means to ejecting them for social behaviours
they don[simplequote]t like. In addition, retailers in the market profile
students and apply higher market prices that are above the prevailing
market prices in the sale of vegetables and general foodstuff. Another key
outcome is that there is an increasing trend in teenage pregnancies
resulting from relationships between male university students and teenagers
in school. Similarly, married men, including Alhajis are falling in love
with the female university students and this is causing social tensions at
homes and leading to an increasing hostility towards the students by
married women.
The paper advocates an integrated approach to planning within the context
of decentralization and in particular, District Development Planning (DDP)
in the municipality. The approach should engender community and multi-
stakeholder engagement involving the University for Development Studies and
Wa Municipal Assembly (WMA) for the promotion of the following: education
of students and communities on issues of social integration; creation of
platforms for interactions and building bridges between communities and
university students; strengthening the Rent Control Board (RCB) to
discharge its function of regulating rent and resolving conflicts to avoid
exploitation of students; and working effectively with the District Health
Management Team to design and implement reproductive health services
targeted at the indigenous youth and university students.
social integration urbanization
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