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07 June 2018 Photo Supplied
Emotional safety during examinations

Mid-year exams have begun and with crunch time comes emotional upheaval. However, it is manageable and should not deter you from the end-goal of succeeding in your studies while maintaining high mental health standards.

“The exam period is a time when stress and anxiety levels are higher than usual. Stress can be positive and help you stay motivated and focused. However, too much stress can be unhelpful and can make you feel overwhelmed, confused, exhausted and edgy,” says Dr Melissa Barnaschone, Director of Student Counselling and Development at the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Helpguide.Org: Trusted guide to mental & emotional health, “Mental and emotional health is about being happy, self-confident, self-aware, and resilient. People who are mentally healthy are able to cope with life’s challenges and recover from setbacks. But mental and emotional health requires knowledge, understanding, and effort to maintain. If your mental health isn’t as solid as you’d like it to be, here’s the good news: there are many things you can do to boost your mood, build resilience, and get more enjoyment out of life.”

For further details on topics including: Building Better Mental Health, Emotional Intelligence Toolkit, Benefits of Mindfulness, Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Cultivating Happiness, visit the Help Guide. 

Dr Barnaschone has a few tips on how Kovsies can better approach academic anxiety during the examination period. Here is what she has to say:

News Archive

Service learning teaching strategy essential for the infusion of graduate attributes
2017-01-02

Description: Dr Pulane Pitso Tags: Dr Pulane Pitso 

Dr Pulane Pitso, Director: Institutional Performance
Monitoring within Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Branch in the Department of the Premier, Free State
Provincial Government (FSPG).
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

“Public service delivery is not only about ‘government’s sector end products’, but is also fundamentally related to the ways in which the citizens can be best served at the point of client interface, as the primary beneficiaries.”

It is against this backdrop that Dr Pulane Pitso’s study explored the role of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in infusing the curriculum with graduate attributes for improved service delivery. The study is entitled: Community service learning as a transformative tool for infusing the university curriculum with graduate attributes for improved service delivery.
 
Citizens the central focus in public-service delivery
Although with the advent of democracy, the South African public service introduced the Batho Pele “people first” initiative which is one of the key transformation-oriented initiatives to ensure that citizens are the central focus in public service  delivery. An extant literature indicates that more work by the government still needs to be done in terms of the institutionalisation and implementation thereof.

Notwithstanding that public service is primarily responsible for addressing challenges related to poor service delivery, Dr Pitso moved from a premise that a multifaceted and collaborative approach, underpinned by a concerted effort by all relevant sectors, is more likely to contribute significantly towards improving service delivery. Specific focus was given to sectors primarily mandated to lay foundations through training and development such as HEIs, since the nature and quality of public service largely depends on the nature, quality and relevance of the system of education.

CSL a transformative teaching strategy
The basis for her thesis, emanated from the contention that public service delivery is a dynamic process which cultivates into a citizen-government relationship.

“It is this relationship that makes the implementation of the Batho Pele initiative crucial in ensuring that the social fabric and moral character of government is not compromised, thus the sustainability and facilitation of the emerged relationship,” Dr Pitso says.

The study focuses on the notion of community service learning (CSL) as an increasingly recognised transformative teaching strategy. It transcends lecture halls and utilises communities as educational spaces to provide practical exposure to real-life experiences to students on both learning and serving the communities.

Instilling graduate attributes in students
Dr Pitso’s thesis, which was predominately qualitative in nature, comprised two main stages. The first stage of the study focused on determining the current state of the public service in terms of the implementation of the Batho Pele principles. Whereas with the second stage, the focus was on determining the extent to which the graduate attributes are instilled in students by means of an exit-level CSL module at the UFS.

Dr Pitso’s thesis, which was awarded to her on 30 June 2016, is the product of five years of hard work, commitment and perseverance. She said it would not have been realised if it had not been for the leadership and mentorship of her promoter, Prof Mabel Erasmus, and co-promoter, Prof Victor Teise.

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