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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

Teacher training key to democracy and freedom
2011-12-06

 

MEC Mr Tate Makgoe (left) with Faculty of Education’s Prof. Dennis Francis, holding the inaugural SURLEC Award. With them is Dr Dipane Hlalele.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

Universities have the responsibility to respond to the challenges that the South African education system is faced with.

This is the view of the Free State MEC for Education, Mr Tate Makgoe, during his address at the three-day First Sustainable Rural Learning Ecologies (SURLEC) Colloquium, which was recently held at the Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).
 
“Our universities must not only research the failures of our system. They must also come up with solutions.
 
“One of the questions that demand answers in our country is whether we produce quality teachers at our universities, considering our learners’ performance internationally. Our children lack the basics like grammar and yet we are 17 years into democracy. Why is their performance so poor in comparison to children in poorer countries?” asked Mr Makgoe.
 
“We must work together as a Government and universities to change this. Universities must be anchors of democracy and freedom, which is meaningless if our children cannot read and write. We must also focus on Mathematics and Natural Sciences, not forgetting to value our indigenous knowledge and games to enhance learning, especially in Mathematics,” he said.
 
According to Dr Dipane Hlalele, Head of the Faculty of Education at the UFS Qwaqwa Campus, the colloquium was held to search for best practices and success stories relating to the theme, Creating sustainable rural learning ecologies in the 21st century.
 
“Our objective was to tap into experiences and wisdom of policy makers, researchers, scholars, teachers and students in order to map a new direction in research as well as to make an indelible mark on the revitalisation of this campus,” concluded Dr Hlalele.
 
The UFS Dean of Education, Prof. Dennis Francis’ efforts to improve rural education were honoured with the first ever SURLEC Award.
 
Over 70 research papers from the universities of the Free State, South Africa, Venda, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology were delivered and learners from the local schools like The Beacon, Mafube, Qwaqwa and Clubview presented their winning projects at the Science Expo.

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