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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

Competition emphasises value of mother-tongue education
2017-11-02

Description: Public Speaking Competition  Tags: Public Speaking Competition  

At the recent Multilingual Debating Competition were, from the left: Anita Muller,
local facilitator; William Magwa, master of ceremonies; Dr Chrismi-Rinda Loth,
project coordinator in the Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment; and
Mabatho Ntsieng, project facilitator in Community Engagement.
Photo: Supplied

The Multilingual Public Speaking Competition has been an annual event in Philippolis since 2013. The competition was established as a result of the Multilingual Information Development Programme (MIDP), a project sponsored by the province of Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium. 

The competition is jointly hosted by the Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment (ULFE) at the University of the Free State (UFS) and the Department of Community Engagement, also from the UFS. 

Debating in your home language
Grade 6 to 9 learners from four schools participated in this year’s competition. Bergmanshoogte Intermediate School, Madikgetla Primary School, Williamsville Primary School, and Springfontein Primary School each entered their three best speakers per grade. 

Olerato Tshiloane, a Grade 7 learner from Madikgetla Primary School, was named best speaker overall. 

Everyone debated on ‘Heritage’
The overall theme of this annual event was ‘Heritage’. Thirty six learners debated in their mother tongue on aspects of this theme, such as its definition, the role it plays in their lives, and the importance thereof. According to Dr Chrismi-Rinda Loth from ULFE, learners have to present their speeches in their mother tongues. “This emphasises the value of the mother tongue/home language within a teaching context,” she says.

This year’s competition saw 20 Afrikaans speeches, 13 in Sesotho, and three in isiXhosa. The multilingual adjudication panel was composed of teachers from the participating schools, and the head adjudicator from the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV). The ATKV is a partial sponsor of the competition and also provides the participation certificates. 

Dr Loth says ULFE and Community Engagement are looking forward to continue their collaboration, thus contributing to the empowerment of the community.

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