13 June 2024 | Story Anthony Mthembu | Photo Sanchay Kalicharan
EMS Debate 2024
The team for and against the motion from left to right: Prof Sevias Guvuriro; Acting Head of the Department of Economics and Finance, Dr Fernella Somerville; Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Development Support, Sibongile Mlotya; EMS Office of the Dean, Prof Johan Van Niekerk; Vice Dean: Agriculture, Prof Cosmas Ambe; Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy and Dr Henry Nichols; Head of the Department of Education Foundations.

The Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) at the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted the second session of the Broadening Curricula Debate series on 23 May 2024, at the Equitas Senate Hall on the UFS Bloemfontein campus.

The motion under discussion was: “Issues on socio-environmental sustainability should feature in each and every curriculum.” Prof Frans Prinsloo, Vice-Dean of Learning, Teaching, Innovation, and Digitalisation in the EMS Faculty at UFS, stated, “The motion was chosen very intentionally to elevate the need for socio-environmental considerations to be included in the curricula of the academic programmes offered by the EMS faculty.’’ He further highlighted that the motion encourages academics, particularly within the faculty, to discuss sustainability given its importance in the workplace and in society.

The teams for and against the motion

The debate featured two teams comprising academics from various disciplines within UFS. Annari Muller, Teaching and Learning Manager in the EMS faculty, explained, “The decision to involve individuals from diverse disciplines in this debate stems from our desire to examine the issues holistically and comprehensively.’’

The team supporting the motion included Prof Sevias Guvuriro, Acting Head of the Department of Economics and Finance, Dr Fernella Somerville, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Development Support, and Prof Cosmas Ambe, Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy. The team opposing the motion consisted of Prof Johan Van Niekerk, Vice-Dean of Agriculture; Sibongile Mlotya from the EMS Office of the Dean; and Dr Henry Nichols, Head of the Department of Education Foundations.

Muller emphasised that involving these varied voices recognises the inherent value of multidisciplinary perspectives in enriching insights and understanding of the motion. 

The winning team

Before the debate commenced, the audience was given the opportunity to vote on their stance regarding the topic. The winning team was determined by their ability to convince the audience to change their stance by the end of the debate. Consequently, the team against the motion won, having successfully swayed some audience members from their initial positions.

Following the debate, Thabo Mongatane, CEO of Kolano Professional Services and Management Consultancy, addressed the audience. His speech focused on sustainability approaches from an industry perspective and underscored the importance of Small-Medium Micro Enterprise (SMMEs) development.

Given the success of this session, both Muller and Prof Prinsloo indicated plans to expand the scope of participation in future sessions. ‘’We plan to actively involve our senior students both as panellists and audience members, recognising the pivotal role they play in shaping the future of Higher Education,’’ said Muller.

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