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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

Rev Jaftha heads interim steering committee on community engagement
2008-11-20

 
The group that attended the first meeting of the proposed National Community Engagement Managers’ Forum.
 Delegates, representing 13 higher educations institutions (HEIs) across South Africa, attended the first meeting of the proposed National Community Engagement Managers’ Forum in Stellenbosch.

Prof. Julian Smith, Vice-Rector: Community Interaction and Personnel of the Stellenbosch University (SU) delivered the keynote address “Consolidating community engagement at South African universities”. In his address he referred to the following: particularities of managing community service (CS) at HEIs, general management areas applicable to CS, the international and national impulses that pertain to CS, concepts and terminology and the lessons learnt, particularly in the case of SU.

Prof. Priscilla Daniels delivered a presentation on the Community-Higher Education-Services-Partnership (CHESP) initiative of the Joint Education Trust (JET) Education Services, as an important intervention in South African universities to support service-learning over the past ten years. Delegates had an opportunity to share their approaches to community service and community service learning as well as their challenges.

Steps were taken towards the establishment of a national forum for Community Engagement Managers. Issues that were discussed were the purpose, strategy, structure, relationship to other national and international structures as well as funding for community engagement initiatives at HEIs.

An interim steering committee, with Rev Kiepie Jaftha, Chief Director Community Service at the University of the Free State (UFS) as the convener, was elected to take the process further. The next meeting of the forum will be held at the UFS towards the end of March 2009.
 

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