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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

A Strategic Maths and Science Education Initiative at the Qwaqwa Campus
2009-11-17

Representatives of the Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Education Faculties as well as the Qwaqwa Campus Management recently convened a workshop on a strategic new Maths and Science Education Initiative to be offered from the Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). The two faculties have agreed to partner in order to offer programmes that will contribute to the development of well-qualified Maths and Science teachers and the improvement of Maths and Science education in local schools.

The programme will be based on a strong research foundation and will also involve extensive partnerships with schools in the Qwaqwa region. Amongst others, the initiative will include the possible introduction of a new programme specifically targeting prospective Maths and Science teachers, as well as the development of modules that focus on the critical content that needs to be covered in the curriculum at Grades 10 to 12.

The initiative emerges against a background of major shortages in science and technology skills in the country, poor performance in Maths and Science in South African schools, a lack of resources such as laboratories in schools, concerns about the content knowledge of qualified teachers and the high demand for Maths and Science teachers, together with very small numbers actually qualifying in these areas. A committee with representatives from both faculties as well as representatives from the Qwaqwa and Main Campuses has been formed to take the planning for this initiative forward. A full business plan is due to be completed in early 2010.

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