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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 Council adopts guidelines for the development of a new Language Policy
2015-12-04

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) adopted the following guidelines from the report by the Language Committee regarding the development of a new Language Policy for the UFS, based on the core values of inclusivity and multilingualism:

  1. that English becomes the primary medium of instruction in undergraduate education and, as largely exists already, in postgraduate education.
  2. that the UFS embeds and enables a language-rich environment committed to multilingualism, with particular attention to Afrikaans, Sesotho, isiZulu, and other languages represented on the three campuses.
  3. that an expanded tutorial system be available to especially first-year students in Afrikaans, Sesotho, isiZulu and other languages, in order to facilitate the transition to English instruction.
  4. that the parallel-medium policy continues in particular professional programmes, given the well-defined Afrikaans markets that, at the moment, still makes such language-specific graduate preparation relevant.
  5. that the language of administration be English.
  6. that the English-medium language policy be implemented with flexibility and understanding, rather than as a rigid rule disregarding the circumstances.

These guidelines were adopted at the Council meeting which took place on the Bloemfontein Campus on Friday 4 December 2015.

“This important and emotive matter was discussed in a high-quality, open debate and I am satisfied with the way the decision was reached,” says Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council.

The decision by Council comes after a mandate was given to the University Management on 4 June 2015 to conduct a review of the institutional Language Policy. A Language Committee was subsequently established by the University Management Committee (UMC) to undertake a comprehensive review of the existing parallel-medium policy and to make recommendations on the way forward with respect to the university's Language Policy.

The Language Committee conducted a comprehensive consultation process on the future of the Language Policy with all university stakeholders. This included multiple dialogue and submissions sessions, as well as an opinion poll on all three campuses.

Guided by the Council resolution of 4 December 2015, the UFS management will now proceed to design a Language Policy that would be presented to the UMC and Senate for voting purposes again, which vote would be formally presented to Council at one of its governance meetings in 2016. The Institutional Forum, a statutory body that represents all university stakeholders, would also advise Council at that stage, per its mandate, on the new Language Policy.

In the event that a new Language Policy is accepted by Council in 2016, the earliest possible date for implementation would be January 2017.


Related articles:

http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6567 (26 November 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6540 (28 October 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6521 (20 October 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6469 (30 August 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6444 (25 August 2015)

 

 

 

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