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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

Implications of new Language Policy for first-year students in 2017
2016-10-17

Dear Prospective Students and Parents/Guardians

As we have communicated to you since January 2016, the University of the Free State’s (UFS) parallel-medium (Afrikaans-English) Language Policy was under review during 2015. In March 2016, the Senate and then Council adopted with overwhelming majority a new Language Policy that strives to achieve multilingualism. The new policy entails English as primary medium of instruction, but with the introduction of a tutorial system in Afrikaans and progressively in Sesotho to support students’ learning in their first and second year of study.

The policy will be piloted in 2017 with first-year students in three faculties: Law, Health Sciences, and the Humanities. In these faculties, the majority of students indicated their preference to be taught in English. The Afrikaans-English policy will be maintained in the rest of the faculties in 2017 and phased out according to an implementation plan as from 2018. Current registered students will be able to complete their studies in the language they selected upon registration.

As you probably know through the media, the UFS decision to change its Language Policy is before the courts. It is hoped that the final outcome will be known before the end of the year, but this is not certain. The university management gives the assurance that it will act in terms of that final outcome.

In the meantime, the UFS will proceed with the implementation of the new Language Policy in 2017 as approved by Council.

Should the court’s verdict be in favour of the Senate and Council resolution, the March 2016 decision will come into effect. If not, the Afrikaans-English policy will stand. The UFS is committed and ready to provide for both eventualities.

Related articles:
Judgement in the Supreme Court of Appeal about UFS Language Policy: 17 November 2016
UFS to proceed with appealing to Supreme Court of Appeal regarding new Language Policy: 29 September 2016
UFS to lodge application to appeal judgment about new Language Policy: 22 July 2016
High Court ruling about new UFS Language Policy: 21 July 2016
UFS Council approves a new Language Policy: 11 March 2016

 
Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

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