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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

UFS shares expertise in Sign Language
2009-05-07

 
The University of the Free State (UFS) is continuing in its commitment to reach out to other universities on the African continent. Mr Philemon Akach (pictured), a senior lecturer in the Department of Afro-Asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice, recently visited the University of Ghana to share his expertise and assist in the introduction of the Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL) as an academic course in that institution. The course will first be piloted as an “elective course” and if successful it will be a permanent feature of the University of Ghana's calendar.

Mr Akach has been instrumental in the development of GSL since the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sent him on a fact-finding mission regarding the education of deaf children in Ghana in 1993. Since then he has trained interpreters as well as parents and teachers of deaf children in Ghana in using the South African Sign Language multimedia grammar teaching materials. He has also guided the GSL Dictionary Project. The University of Ghana will use his books as the basis for the teaching of the GSL. This session was a follow-up to the one he had with that university in February this year.

The UFS is widely regarded as a beacon of light in the teaching of sign language on the continent and, together with the University of Witwatersrand, are the only universities in South Africa that offer sign language as an academic course.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

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