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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. 



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Funding of R8.7million for skills development in manufacturing and teacher training signed over to UFS
2017-06-19

Description: MerSETA funding Tags: MerSETA funding



The MerSETA (Skills and Training Authority for Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Industries) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the University of the Free State (UFS) for a grant of approximately R8.7million on 14 June 2017, which will be disbursed over a three-year period. 

UFS seeks to bridge the skills gap
As a response to the need for skills development in the manufacturing, engineering and related industries sector, and as an institution of higher learning optimally placed to serve the population of central South Africa, the UFS proposed a partnership with MerSETA to address challenges in the sector. The interventions that MerSETA will fund include training for 600 vocational teachers, research and development of a green building mechanical index, in-service training for 60 IT Teachers and microbotics classes for 100 students.

The CEO of MerSETA, and UFS alumnus Dr Raymond Patel, said the funding for rare skills such as in science and engineering are of great importance for the country. The ability to train teachers and to upskill them will yield great results for the economy as a whole. Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Francis Petersen said the UFS partnership with SETAs and with MerSETA in particular should be mutually beneficial, and went a long way in integrating first-generation university students to be better-prepared for university studies.

Collaboration and support key within university departments
The delegates visited the Departments of Education and Engineering Sciences on the Bloemfontein Campus, where they met project leaders Louis Lagrange from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Dr Nixon Teis, Faculty of Education, and Pat Lamusse, Institutional Advancement. Present at the signing ceremony were members of the Rectorate, the Acting Dean of the faculty of Education, Prof Loyiso Jita, and Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Prof Danie Vermeulen, as well as researchers who will be working on the green building mechanical use index and other MerSETA representatives.

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