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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 receives multimillion rand international funding for Advancement
2013-01-21

21 January 2013

We are one of four South African universities that have been selected to take part in a multimillion-rand programme to bolster private fund-raising and Advancement efforts.

The UFS will receive US$640 000 (R5 612 800) over a period of five years to use in advancement efforts.

In total, the US-based Kresge Foundation will make US$2.5 million available to the four universities, which includes the UFS, Durban University of Technology (DUT), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ), over the next five years as part of a joint initiative with Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement, to support the long-term financial sustainability of higher education institutions in South Africa.

Kresge will also provide programmes and support aimed at enhancing student access to universities and improving graduation rates.

Bill Moses, who directs Kresge’s education programme, says declining government support means that South African university officials need to tap into diversified philanthropic and private funding if they want to enhance their institutions’ ability to serve students better. “Stronger Advancement skills are critical to their success and ultimately to getting more South African students into universities and completing degrees. Advancement is not just about raising funds. It is the practice of building, maintaining and improving support, skills and other resources to ensure the sustainability of an institution,” explains Moses.

 This latest Kresge initiative follows the success of a five-year partnership with Inyathelo that helped five high-profile South African institutions - the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits); the University of Pretoria (UP); the University of the Western Cape (UWC); the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the Children’s Hospital Trust - increase their private fund-raising revenue threefold. The four universities will receive additional funding over the next five years and will serve as mentors to the new group of institutions.

In April last year, Kresge announced a new commitment to South African higher education that builds on its efforts in the United States to improve university access and help students succeed academically. Their ‘Promoting access and success at South African universities’ programme will seek to strengthen pathways to and through universities, especially for students who are often unprepared for university study. Moses says enhancing the ability of universities in South Africa to graduate the next generation of knowledge workers, will make it possible for the country to compete more effectively in the global economy. “Access to higher education in South Africa has improved dramatically since the end of Apartheid. A doubling of enrolment since 1994 has, however, contributed to serious challenges, including under-prepared students and disappointing graduation rates. We are confident that our programme will help address some of these obstacles to success,” says Moses.

Kresge has already funded several efforts that support its interest in strengthening pathways to and through universities this year, including a grant to the University of the Free State to expand the South African Survey of Student Engagement, as well as funding to the University of Pretoria to support a conference in January, which will highlight opportunities to promote access and success at South African universities.

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