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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

Afrikaans can be learnt online for the first time
2017-11-29

 Description: Afrikaans online Tags: Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, Prof Angelique van Niekerk, Afrikaans online, Gesellig Afrikaans, VivA 

The launch of the online course in Afrikaans at the University of the Free State
took place in the Centenary Complex at the Bloemfontein Campus on 21 November 2017.
From the left are Profs Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor; Angelique van Niekerk,
Head: Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French; and Gerhard van Huyssteen,
Executive Director: Virtual Institute for Afrikaans.
Photo: Supplied

There is a need among visiting international students and foreign visiting lecturers and researchers to be able to speak Afrikaans. According to Prof Angelique van Niekerk, this is the reason why the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the University of the Free State (UFS) has been offering short courses in Afrikaans on campus for more than 15 years.

As from January 2018, those people wishing to learn Afrikaans outside of the UFS campus will be able to do so fully online. This is the first time that Afrikaans can be learnt fully online. The course is part of a short learning programme, Gesellig Afrikaans 1 and 2, which has been presented at the UFS since 2007. It is presented with the support of the Virtual Institute for Afrikaans (VivA), and Afrikaans can now be learnt as foreign language globally.

Need to speak Afrikaans
 
Prof Van Niekerk, Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, believes people who come in contact with the language have a need to learn to speak Afrikaans. “Afrikaans is a vernacular in the workplace, education, and social circles, especially in Bloemfontein, the Free State, and South Africa,” she says.

On average, 15 students per semester are enrolling for the existing contact-based course. Prof Van Niekerk says these students are from countries such as The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Poland, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and some are from the East.

English used as teaching medium 
In 2018, the 20-week course will be taught online via the VivA website or on campus through contact sessions (within 13 weeks). “The online course for international students is currently being marketed for the first time, and in 2018 we will officially be enrolling international students for the online course from beyond UFS borders,” says Prof Van Niekerk.

The teaching medium will be English, with all the information and explanations taking place in Afrikaans and English. Supporting material such as Afrikaans films, music, pronunciation guidelines, and continuous self-assessment are part of the online course material.

Click here to see the course structure of the online programme.

Direct enquiries to Prof Van Niekerk at vnieka@ufs.ac.za, or geselligafrikaans@gmail.com or visit www.gesellig-afrikaans.org

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