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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

Tutu-Jonker Prestige Lecture Series tackles reconciliation
2017-11-13

Description: ' 000 a Tutu Jonker Prestige Lecture Tags: Tutu Jonker Prestige Lecture

Prof Rian Venter; Prof Eddy van der Borght, guest speaker from Vrije
Universiteit, Amsterdam; and Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the Faculty
of Theology and Religion at the UFS.
Photo: Supplied

The Faculty of Theology and Religion recently hosted the annual Tutu-Jonker Prestige Lecture Series at the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). The purpose of the lecture series is to address modern-day and pressing social challenges from a theological and religious perspective.

With the theme Religions and reconciliation of conflicting identities, guest speaker and Desmond Tutu Chair on reconciliation at the Faculty of Theology: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Prof Eddy van der Borght, spoke about the reformation in the context of shifting European identity formations.

Reconciliation versus social identity

“My focus is on what the Christian concept of reconciliation means for reconciliation in society,” said Prof Van der Borght. He deliberated the global problem of conflict generated by diverse social identities. He also emphasised that religion has huge resources to contribute towards overcoming conflicting identities.

“The theory is that religions know about reconciliation, while in practice it is much more complicated, because often religions are part of the problem of conflict,” he says. He said religions are often the problem in social cultural identities, especially regarding conflict involving different nations, racial, and ethnic groups.

Honouring prominent theologians Tutu and Jonker

The name Tutu-Jonker originates from the two theologians, Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the late Prof Willie Jonker, who are both regarded as prominent theologians known for their emphasis on reconciliation in South Africa. The significance of combining the two names is said to bring together two different theological traditions (Anglican and Reformed), cultural groups, and races.

Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, said, “This will also serve the purpose of a welcoming culture at the faculty, embracing diversity and embodying reconciliation.” Both of these theologians received honorary doctorates in Theology from the UFS.

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