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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 hosts colloquium on technological higher education
2016-10-27

Description: Technology colloquium Tags: Technology colloquium

Prof Lew Zipin, Prof Sechaba Mahlomaholo,
Prof Marie Brennan and Dr Milton Nkoane,
attended the Faculty of Education’s colloquium
on the field of technological higher education
and its contribution to the knowledge society,
at the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. 

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Faculty of Education, in collaboration with the Research and Development Unit from the Central University of Technology (CUT), hosted a colloquium on the field of technological higher education and its contribution to the knowledge society. Prof Marie Brennan and Prof Lew Zipin, both from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, presented the keynote addresses of the colloquium.

The past, present and future
The current fees protests in South Africa have caused universities to rethink and strategise new ways of delivering knowledge. Prof Brennan cautioned that when moving towards technological solutions for teaching, a crucial balance between past knowledge and practices and present and future knowledge and practices needed to be maintained.
“Knowledge is always dynamic, always generated from live problems, and therefore always relies on social interactions. Face-to-face interaction is removed by intense interaction with technology. If knowledge is presently linked to technology, we as academics must be able to move it. However, we should not neglect the indigenous knowledge that was generated through face-to-face interaction,” said Prof Brennan.
She purported that a reconnection between social relations and technology was important but to achieve this, a clearer pedagogical understanding of knowledge production was needed.

Never simplify complex problems

Prof Zipin said academics were constantly seeking complex problems and therefore could not reduce the complexity of a problem to simplify it for students entering the higher education space.
“We need to become a knowledge society. Ideologies often sway us not to look at the complexities of knowledge otherwise these ideologies would not be persuasive,” said Prof Zipin.

Is the technological move counterproductive?
Prof Zipin also cautioned that the move towards technological means for transferring knowledge had its own drawbacks. Institutions are a knowledge economy and its product is human capital. However, producing graduates who catered only to a technological society created downward mobility.
“People’s jobs are replaced by technology. This causes wages to decrease significantly because of structural inequalities, the move towards tech-based schooling should be done cautiously,” said Prof Zipin.

Simplicity not the ultimate sophistication
Prof Zipin concluded by stating that higher education had a responsibility to give its students the best possible future, this could be done by creating hegemonic relationships between institutions of higher learning, government and the private sector. Academics needed to fill the gap and apply their knowledge by applying complexity to social issues and allowing the complexity of these issues to flourish, the professor said.

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