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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 celebrates Kagiso Trust’s 30 years of commitment to the empowerment of impoverished communities
2015-07-15

From the left are: MEC Tate Makgoe, Free State Department of Education; Busi Tshabalala, Thabo Mofutsanyana Education District Director; Dean Zwo Nevhutalu,  Kagiso Trust Trustee  and UFS Director of Community Engagement, Bishop, Billy Ramahlele.
Photo: ?Thabo Kessah

Future sustainable partnerships in education will survive only if all partners are committed, honest, and transparent.

This is the view expressed by the Free State MEC for Education and UFS Council member, Tate Makgoe, during the panel discussion at the Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State celebrating Kagiso Trust’s 30 years of commitment to the empowerment of impoverished communities. The topic was “The future partnership models for education in Africa”.

“Over the years, the partnership between the Free State Department of Education, the UFS, and Kagiso Trust has helped to expose the potential in our mainly rural children in the Qwaqwa area of the Thabo Mofutsanyana district,” said Makgoe.

”When we started in 2009, the matric pass rate in the district was 64%, and this rose to 87% in 2014. In Qwaqwa alone, we have managed to build 51 computer and 26 physical sciences laboratories. It was these laboratories that enabled the Free State to be the best performing province in the Physical Sciences in 2013,” added Makgoe.

“None of these achievements would have been possible if all the partners had not been committed to the course. Partnerships built on honesty and transparency are the best model, which we hope to export to other provinces and, indeed, countries,” Makgoe said.

Representing the UFS on the panel was the Director of Community Engagement, Bishop Billy Ramahlele, who added that collaborations can be successful only if the leadership was exemplary.

“As the university, we have had many collaboration with various government departments, and great strides have been achieved only with the Department of Education under the leadership of MEC Makgoe,” said Ramahlele.

”With the MEC on board, the UFS ended up dedicating its South Campus in Bloemfontein to supporting Free State schools. We now have 70 schools that benefit from live television broadcasts of lessons by some of our outstanding academics. This also enables our best academics to make a valued contribution to empowering our teachers. It also allows the university to maximise scarce resources to attain social cohesion,” he said.

In his remarks, Kagiso Trust Trustee, Dean Zwo Nevhutalu, said that Kagiso Trust was looking forward to continue working with its partners to maximise outcomes through limited resources.

“Kagiso Trust will continue to work with the poor and the marginalised and there is no better partner than the government itself. The government provides basic services, and education is one of them. This allows us to be innovative and not just dump books and equipment at schools because we are forced to by our corporate social investment obligations. Therefore, we challenge the government also to be innovative in building a sustainable future partnership model in education,” he said.

Among the dignitaries attending the panel discussion were Kagiso Trust Chairman, Dr Frank Chikane, and the late Dr Beyers Naude’s family.

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