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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

Meet our Council: Marius Swart – a Councillor with deep roots in the UFS
2017-07-12

Description: Meet our Council: Marius Swart – a Councillor with deep roots in the UFS Tags: Marius Swart, University Council, Mediclinic, cardiothoracic surgeon, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery  

Marius Swart, Alumni election on the UFS Council.
Photo: Stephen Collett

Marius Swart, a Kovsie alumnus, is an Alumni election on the University Council. Not only is he a Kovsie alumnus, but all four of his siblings and their spouses are Kovsie alumni, as well as all three his children.   

Interest in future decisions at the UFS
He is currently practicing as cardiothoracic surgeon at Mediclinic in Bloemfontein, but has always been involved with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the university.  He spent eight years as consultant in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and recently became a registered student again when he enrolled for an interdisciplinary PhD.  He is currently also supervisor for the research projects of undergraduate medical students.

Thus, Marius no doubt has a substantial interest in the issues and future decisions at the UFS.

Guard against retroformation
"Higher education is a challenging environment and expectations about excellence and human development are being tested.  Transformation is on everybody’s lips, but we have to guard against what I would call retroformation – moving back to old regimes and new forms of exclusion," he says.

Marius is excited to begin his term with a new Rector and Vice-Chancellor.  He realises that many challenges awaits him as councillor on the way forward, but he is ready to pull his weight in Council.

"My own daughter is involved in the challenges students are experiencing on a daily basis, and my wife is supporting a first-generation rural student.  The university should be sensitive to these students.  Empowering them can bring change to communities."

His interests are varied and it is clear that he has a vision for a better world.

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