13 February 2020 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Supplied
CUADS: human rights-based support for students with disabilities
CUADS is focused on creating an accessible, and universal campus environment for students, to leverage continuous student engagement and success at the university.

The University of the Free State (UFS) prides itself on ensuring universal access for students with disabilities. On Friday 7 February 2020, the UFS Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) held its first formal of the year, providing CUADS students with the platform to foster and establish fruitful peer relationships in order to succeed in their academic careers at university.

In addition to providing an opportunity for students with disabilities to socialise with each other, the purpose of the UFS CUADS formal is also to build relationships with individuals in academic and support departments to facilitate better support for these students, as well as to recognise people who have supported and assisted CUADS as a whole over the past two years. 

According to the Assistant Director of CUADS, Martie Miranda, who is also chair of the Higher and Further Education Disability Services Association, “The formal was an uplifting, positive and vibrant evening that left everybody really excited. Attendees were energetic and affirmed that they are being recognised and respected by the university.”   
She also believes that the UFS is the preferred higher education institution among students with disabilities because of the support services provided. “The provision of Braille as an alternative format of material for blind students and South African Sign Language interpreters for deaf students makes us unique from other universities,” explained Miranda.

The MEC for Social Development in the Free State provincial government, Mamiki Qabathe, was amazed at the work being done by the UFS for students with disabilities, due to its human rights-based nature rooted in ethics. The department has subsequently committed to donating five full bursaries to students studying for programmes with no or inadequate professional skills (in the area of disabilities) in the Free State.
The Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof Francis Petersen, and the Dean of Student Affairs, Pura Mgolombane, were also present at the formal last week. 

CUADS, in line with the UFS Division of Student Affairs, prioritises student success and plans to maintain continuous engagement with students (on an individual basis, but also per disability category) to ascertain the support needed to ensure student success.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.