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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

UFS strengthens ties with Mexican university
2010-05-11

 At the First Joint Subcommittee on Technical, Scientific and Technological Co-operation were, from left: Prof. Nahum Marban-Mendoza, Chairperson of the Department of Agroparasitology, UACH; Dr Gisela Pena-Ortega, Director of the Office for International Affairs and Academic Exchange, UACH; Prof. Wijnand Swart, Director of UFS Strategic Academic Cluster 4: Technologies for Crop Industries in Semi-arid regions; and Dr Victor Pinto, Department of Parasitology, UACH.
Photo: Mercedes Cuenca


In 2006, the University of the Free State (UFS) signed an institutional agreement with the Autonomous University of Chapingo (UACH) in Mexico. This made the UFS the first South African academic institution to establish scientific relations with Mexico.

It was for this reason that Prof. Wijnand Swart, Director of the UFS Strategic Academic Cluster 4: Technologies for Crop Industries in Semi-arid regions, was invited to participate in the First Joint Subcommittee on Technical, Scientific and Technological Cooperation held recently in Mexico City. During his visit, Prof. Swart secured the working relationship between the UFS and the UACH.

During the first meeting of the Mexico-South Africa Bi-national Commission, the Mexican Foreign Secretary and Minister of Foreign Affairs and South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation signed a joint statement. The statement, “Mexico and South Africa: Towards a Priority Relationship”, together with a Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement, will lay the foundations for monitoring existing collaboration and promote new actions between institutions in Mexico and South Africa.

Prof. Swart spent the remainder of his stay in Mexico presenting lectures to staff and students at the UACH on integrated pest management and challenges facing South African agriculture. He also engaged in discussions with Dr Gisela Pena-Ortega, Director of the UACH Office for International Affairs and Academic Exchange, about the establishment of a staff and student exchange programme with the UFS.
 

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