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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

Prof Andre Keet to chair Ministerial Oversight Committee on Transformation
2017-07-14

Description: Prof Andre Keet  Tags: Transformation, Higher Education, Oversight Committee, appointment 

Prof Andre Keet 
Photo: Stephen Collet

Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has increased from seven to 10 the number of members of the Ministerial Oversight Committee on the Transformation in the South African Public Universities.

In a government gazette published on 7 July 2017‚ Dr Nzimande appointed new members of the committee for a three-year term to be chaired by Prof Andre Keet, Director of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State (UFS). Prof Keet is a returning member of the committee alongside former University of Fort Hare chancellor Dr Mvuyo Tom.

The purpose of the Ministerial Oversight Committee on Transformation in South African Public Universities is to monitor progress on transformation in public universities‚ serve as an expert advisory body and provide independent and external advice to the minister and the department.

The committee has been given 11 tasks‚ chief of which is to study and evaluate transformation plans and charters of all universities. It is mandated to use this exercise as a basis for the development of a sectoral transformation charter. It is also tasked with reviewing the annual reports of institutions on transformation and producing an annual report on the state of transformation in the higher education sector.

Prof Keet’s appointment comes at a pivotal time when transformation at universities has been at the heart of many debates in universities, government and broader society. Prof Keet said: “It is an honour and privilege to serve the sector at this level and in this capacity.”

The university is proud to have in its ranks a leader of such calibre who has also spearheaded transformation initiatives at the UFS through the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice over the past six years.

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