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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

Renowned Sign Language expert heads UFS department
2009-11-27

 Mr Philemon Akach

The Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice in the Faculty of the Humanities at the University of the Free State recently appointed Mr Philemon Akach as its new chairperson.

Mr Akach, hitherto a senior lecturer in the department, succeeds Prof Annelie Lotriet who left the university earlier this year after having been elected to serve in the national parliament by the Democratic Alliance.

“To head the entire department has never crossed my mind because I think I am discipline oriented,” he said.

He said the confidence that his colleagues have in him gives him the impetus to succeed. “It gives me the opportunity to rethink my position within the department and the university at large,” he said.

However, his Sign Language students will be glad to know that he will not be lost to them as the result of this new responsibility.

“I cannot neglect Sign Language,” he stressed. “I have to teach because the academic side of Sign Language has to be maintained within the university, as well as nationally and internationally. I just have to divide my time between the administration of Sign Language and the teaching and research application in my discipline (Sign Language).”

To ease the load that comes with his new responsibility and the added pressure of being the only Sign Language lecturer, he said they have contracted former students to teach some courses in Sign Language.

“We have to keep in place the disciplines that keep this department’s name going,” he said.

A major challenge facing his department, according to Mr Akach, is getting more students enrolled in the disciplines offered by the department.

“To get students we need to convince them that we are the best, and that is not just a challenge for me but for the department and the lecturers in the department teaching those disciplines.”

He said he will strive for excellence in the department as part of the overall vision of the university.

“We need to get research output while not neglecting the teaching part. It is research that brings in new knowledge and it is through research that scholars expose themselves to the outside world, and by doing that they actually put the name of this university on the international map,” he said.

Mr Akach will serve in this position for the next three years.

Media release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
26 November 2009
 

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