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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 plays leading role in implementing curriculum for deaf learners
2013-08-15

 

Minister Angie Motshekga (front left) joined by members of the South African Sign Language task team. Behind Minister Motshekga’s shoulder is Dr Philemon Akach.
15 August 2013

South African Sign Language (SASL) will soon be offered as a school subject to Grade 0–12 learners in all 42 schools for the deaf in South Africa. Our Department of South African Sign Language had a role to play in this significant development that will empower deaf learners in South Africa and the continent.

Dr Philemon Akach, Head of the Department of South African Sign Language at the UFS, is part of the nine-member task team that recently handed over the SASL curriculum to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga. The curriculum will be offered as a home language in all schools from 2014 and Grade 12 learners will be able to write it as a final-year examination subject.

Dr Akach – a member of the task team since 2009 – helped to coordinate the development of the curriculum.

The implementation of the curriculum means a lot to the Department of South African Sign Language, Dr Akach says. “We have championed the linguistic needs of the deaf community ever since we became the first university to offer SASL as an academic course, not only in South Africa, but also on the continent.”

Dr Akach says most Education students are already taking SASL as subject in his department, equipping them as prospective teachers to make implementation of the curriculum a smooth one. “Given our expertise, we will train teachers in the field and be involved in the setting and moderation of exam papers. The University of the Free State is no doubt a leader in this field.”

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