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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

‘Miratho’ seeks to drive policy-changing research through international collaboration
2017-09-29

Description: ' AM Bathmaker CRHED Miratho Tags: AM Bathmaker CRHED Miratho

From the left: Phathu Mudau (Thusanani Foundation),
Prof Melanie Walker (UFS), Prof Ann-Marie Bathmaker
(University of Birmingham), Prof Monica McLean
(University of Nottingham), and Fulu Ratshisusu
(Thusanani Foundation).

Photo: Eugene Seegers

Miratho is a TshiVenda word that refers to informal, self-made bridges, which are usually built by rural community members during floods or other natural disasters. These are usually dangerous, unstable constructions, and only the brave tend to use them. When community members build miratho, though, they create opportunities for stranded students to attend school. Miratho symbolise the determination to access education even in the face of danger, and working with others to make progress.

The Miratho Research Project is led by the Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development (CRHED) at the University of the Free State (UFS), in partnership with the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham in the UK, and the Thusanani Foundation. The project is jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department for International Development in the UK, as well as the National Research Foundation in South Africa. The project research team consists of Prof Melanie Walker, Prof Merridy Wilson-Strydom and Dr Mikateko Höppener from CRHED at the UFS, Prof Monica McLean from the University of Nottingham, and Prof Ann-Marie Bathmaker from the University of Birmingham.

Miratho is a four-year project, stretching until August 2020, which seeks to investigate multidimensional dynamics shaping or inhibiting disadvantaged students’ capabilities to access higher education, participate and succeed in it, as well as move from higher education to work. By means of a systematic, integrated and longitudinal mixed-methods investigation, Prof Walker and her team, in close collaboration with the Thusanani Foundation, aim to develop an inclusive, capabilities-based higher education Index, which in turn would serve to inform policy and practice interventions that challenge inequalities that have an impact on learning outcomes.

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