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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

Spanish academic discuss frameworks for successful higher education
2013-08-29

Prof Melanie Walker, Senior Research Professor at CHECaR, Prof Sandra Boni and Dr Sonja Loots, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the CHECaR seminar.
29 August 2013
Photo: Thabo Motsoane

In the latest Centre for Higher Education and Capabilities Research (CHECaR) seminar, Prof Sandra Boni from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain presented on ‘Competencies in Higher Education: A Critical Analysis from the Capabilities Approach.’ The presentation focused on the significant transformation taking place in universities and how that is affecting teaching and learning practices. The competencies approach plays a key role in this transformation process by associating the mastering of certain skills with successful completion of higher education qualifications.

Prof Boni and her colleagues argue that the competencies approach is flawed and too narrow to be used in evaluating successful higher education and that a broader human development perspective has to be applied. She argues that the capabilities approach represents a more inclusive framework for guiding the holistic development of students through the expansion of all human choices to achieve what they value most, not just to benefit economically from education. The inclusion of the human development framework in universities’ training would lead to generating ‘public-good professionals’ who are equipped prepared with the necessary competencies to enter their chosen career – but who will also be the bearers of a social consciousness.

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