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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 responds to media reports about UFS101
2012-08-18

The UFS101 is a cross-disciplinary module of the University of the Free State (UFS) that encourages critical thinking and offers access to knowledge beyond the specific qualifications for which students are registered. This is a multi-disciplinary academic curriculum that includes topics in astronomy, nanotechnology, history, law, anthropology and religion.

Throughout the seven units students are taught to think broadly rather than narrowly, and critically rather than through rote-learning.

The core curriculum module raises some difficult questions about science, humanity and the universe that have occupied human beings for centuries. There is considerable effort put into the module to enable balance, respect, and independent thinking. Students are not taught what to think but are offered different perspectives on difficult issues.

“In my unit on the question ‘how should we deal with the past?’ every effort is made for students to examine the perspectives on history held by people from different communities in South Africa,” said Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.

Students are then encouraged to speak in class, online and in tutorial groups where they are given ample opportunities to take a position and defend it not through emotion and anger, but through logic and reason.

The objective of the module is to equip students to deal with “the present past” in constructive and empathetic ways. They are also prepared to become active citizens outside the classroom and gain skills they can use anywhere in the world.

Some students find the module difficult at first, since most of them are not used to the practice of critical thinking and dealing with difficult questions from the past, the present and the future. Most students gradually come to enjoy the core curriculum module as they become accustomed to a new style of teaching and learning.

There are 700 first-year modules at the UFS. This is the only one module offered to students in English so that all students, local and international, can engage with one another directly on the subject matter discussed in the module. However, the module material is also available in Afrikaans online.It is a pity that AfriForum Jeug Kovsies did not discuss their concerns with the presenters of the module, but chose to do it through the media.

It is a pity that AfriForum Jeug Kovsies did not discuss their concerns with the presenters of the module, but chose to do it through the media.

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