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25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

UN-SPIDER expert appointed at UFS Risk Management Centre
2017-06-02

Description: Dr Joerg Szarzynski Tags: Dr Joerg Szarzynski

Dr Joerg Szarzynski, head of the EduSphere section
and Education Programme Director at the
United Nations University, Institute for Environment
and Human Security.
Photo: Supplied

“This new development will strengthen the long-lasting collaboration between DiMTEC and the United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn in Germany. This [collaboration] goes back for almost a decade of joint training courses and increasingly also includes collaboration in the frame of scientific projects, especially in Africa.”

These were the words of Dr Joerg Szarzynski after his appointment as Affiliated Associate Professor to the Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa (DiMTEC) at the University of the Free State (UFS). Dr Szarzynski will assume his new position with immediate effect.
 
The United Nations University (UNU) is a global thinktank and postgraduate teaching organisation headquartered in Japan.

Dr Szarzynski, head of the EduSphere section and Education Programme Director at UNU-EHS, brings with him a wealth of experience, including serving as senior expert to the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). Within the team, he was principal desk officer for Africa responsible for relief activities after natural disasters, technical consultation, information management, collaborative network development and the cluster on health and climate change adaptation. He also has broad expertise in climatology and remote sensing, global environmental change research, capacity-building and web-based data and information management.

“Dr Szarzynski’s appointment brings
new research opportunities.”

Lecture focus on vulnerability and disaster risk reduction
As part of his new academic responsibilities, Dr Szarzynski will conduct face-to-face lectures during a course on vulnerability and disaster risk-reduction. With this course the centre aims to increase awareness of the complexity and importance of vulnerability and resilience in the field of disaster risk management. Dr Szarzynski’s teachings will focus on Early Warning Systems and Geospatial Technologies in Support of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Emergency Response Preparedness. He will also lead courses on Assessment and Coordination in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response and Information Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management.

Furthermore he will give lectures via distance learning for the wider curriculum at DiMTEC.

Collaboration between DiMTEC and UNU
Dr Andries Jordaan, Director of DiMTEC at the UFS said: “His appointment opens new networks within the United Nations system, which brings new research opportunities. Furthermore, his expertise is important to us. He has already provided input and delivered lectures through Skype in the course of Information Technology and Communication.”

Dr Szarzynski has been lecturing for the past 10 years in the UFS’ international PhD curriculum.

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