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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. 



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"We cannot train for unemployment"
2009-11-16

The prestige forum was attended by, from the left: Prof. Dirk van Damme, Head of the Centre for Education research and innovation at OECD in Paris, France; Dr Saretha Brüssow of the Planning Unit: Teaching and Learning; Mr Francois Marais, Director of CHESD; Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor; Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector Academic Planning and the guest speaker; and Prof. Magda Fourie of the University of Stellenbosch.
Photo: Gerhard Louw
“We cannot train for unemployment. We must continuously look at what employers and the world want, and update,” Prof. Magda Fourie, Vice-Rector: Teaching and Learning at the University of Stellenbosch, recently said at a prestige forum for teaching and learning at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Prof. Fourie, former Vice-Rector: Academic Planning at the UFS delivered the second Magda Fourie Prestige Lecture at the forum. The forum was presented by the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Learning (CHESD) and the Planning Unit: Teaching and Learning. Various presentations were made on innovations in teaching and learning at the UFS.

Prof. Fourie said research has shown that the knowledge, skills, competencies and values of students are out of sync with the needs of the world out there. Higher Education must look at the context in which it operates and the relevance of its teaching and learning. “We are busy with the cultivation of humanity,” she said.

The UFS is doing excellent work with its bridging programmes and other universities will have to give attention to it. The UFS is also excellent in its extended programmes and have more women and foreign students than the national average. The UFS, however, has a lower percentage of black students than the national average.

The UFS is also excellent in terms of postgraduate students. The national average is 36%, with the UFS boasting 47%. Prof. Fourie expressed her concern for the low throughput in Business and Economics at the UFS where only 13% of those who enter the system graduate. “These are the people we need for this country’s economy.”

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