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06 August 2018 Photo Sonia Small
Karen Lazenby WomenofKovsies
Dr Karen Lazenby strives for a stronger, rule-based, and consistent governance structure.

A transformed University of the Free State (UFS) will be one that promotes social justice in everything it does, a university where its diverse people feel a sense of common purpose and engagement. The UFS is developing this through its Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP) introduced in January 2017. 

“The majority of the current systems and processes in student administration at the university are still manual. This lack of automation leads to inconsistencies and service failures,” says Dr Karen Lazenby. As Registrar for Systems and Administration, Dr Lazenby is responsible for ensuring a smooth and efficient student lifecycle across all three campuses. 

With the ITP, the Governance: Systems and Administration work stream strives to have a stronger, rule-based, and consistent governance structure with a single line of accountability in student administration across all faculties and relevant support departments on the three campuses. By ensuring this ease of use and access there will be an integrated student experience and greater empowerment of students.

“Our focus is on automation and self-services for students (such as the time-table, requests for additional and ad hoc exams and appeals), to ensure transparency and accessibility of rules and policies, decisions relating to admission, progression rules, awarding of qualifications and graduation and faculty and general rules,” Dr Lazenby said.  It will also entail the optimisation of PeopleSoftCampus (the Enterprise Resource Planning system).

“Through this automation, I would also like to get the university’s student administration to such a level that academic staff can focus their energy on teaching and research and student administration staff can focus more on quality assurance,” said Dr Lazenby.

News Archive

Researchers explore gender-based violence at schools in Southern Africa
2014-10-17

Prof Dennis Francis
Photo: René-Jean van der Berg


Violence in schools, especially gender violence, has been a much explored and debated topic. But researchers at the University of the Free State (UFS) are now also exploring the link between gender, diversity and violence in schools in Southern Africa.

This study – a first of its kind – received funding from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and will investigate how the perception of ‘different’ is a contributing factor to violence in schools.

This UNESCO-funded study, in collaboration with Hivos, GALA and the Government of the Netherlands, will involve schools in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.

Prof Dennis Francis, UFS Dean of Education and principal researcher in this study, says children and youth around the world are exposed to violence in and around educational settings. “This does not only undermine a child’s rights to quality education, but also the capacity of the education sector to train future citizens who will respect each other regardless of differences.”

Prof Francis says although girls are the most vulnerable targets of GBV, boys can also be targets, as evidence reveals that many children and youths who are perceived as different in terms of gender, are often victims of violence in school.

“Education is the most significant means of fostering social inclusion, promoting individual rights and realising the full potential of all young people, including those perceived as different. This project is aimed at assisting government, policy makers and professionals in the education sector, as well as civil society organisations and other key stakeholders in Southern Africa to create educational policies and practices that promote safe schools for all youths.”


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