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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

Literacy Month fosters the love of reading
2017-09-19

Description: Literacy Month fosters the love of reading Tags: Literacy Month fosters the love of reading 

Vutivi Baloyi author of Keep Hoping with Neo Kgoroba
one of the co-authors of In Our Own Words.


Literacy Month is celebrated in September each year at the University of the Free State (UFS) with various activities that are academic and community related and aim to join different departments in collaborative efforts to carry forward an awareness of literacy and the joy of reading among learners. The UFS Sasol Library lined up a series of events to celebrate the month, one of them being the launch of two books on 14 September 2017.

Vutivi Baloyi is a UFS student who wrote a collection of poems at the age of 17 which were recently published in a book called Keep Hoping. The book was launched alongside In Our Own Words, a collection of narratives written by UFS students about university life and transitioning from township high schools to a different culture, society and community, and the challenges with which they are faced.

In their own words, they share incredible experiences
The launch was attended by learners from Christian Liphoko High School in Thaba Nchu as well as Moroka High School and others. The compilation of narratives by UFS students was done under the auspices of Prof Merridy Wilson-Strydom through the Enabling Success project in the Centre for Research in Higher Education. Prof Wilson-Strydom said the project, supported by the National Research Foundation, was a profound way of empowering students by bringing out the value of the stories of their life on campus as they saw them, with each student writing a chapter on a specific theme.

Students as change agents and community builders
The student authors spoke to their audience from the heart, sharing words of advice, especially to younger learners who are still in high school. This has sparked a desire for the beginning of collaborative programmes between the individual university students and high school learners who hail from Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, highlighting the need for mentorship, life skills, academic improvement and an opportunity to give back. 

The event is also part of the ongoing Launch Your Own Book project that has grown in 2017 at the UFS Library under the leadership of Mr Marcus Maphile, Assistant Director: Library Marketing and Community Engagement. Literacy Month will be celebrated with more events in September such as a round-table discussion in collaboration with the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association of South Africa (ANSAFA) on 20 September 2017 at the library, to discuss developing authors and the role of ANSAFA. More activities will include outreach and community engagement, with a visit to Christian Liphoko High School in Thaba Nchu on 21 September 2017.

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