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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 Sign Language expert appointed to a national government committee
2010-05-13

Photo: Mangaliso Radebe


The National Department of Basic Education has appointed the Head of the Department of Afro-Asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice at the University of the Free State (UFS), Mr Philemon Akach, to serve in its Curriculum Management Team.

“It is my pleasure to inform you that you have been appointed as a member of the Curriculum Management Team to manage the development of Sign Language as a subject to be listed in the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12,” the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, wrote in her letter to Mr Akach.

“I am excited, after mulling over this, saying that maybe this time around it may just work because, from experience, I can sensitise the other committee members on how to build in an implementation strategy right from the beginning,” said Mr Akach.

“Over the last 12 years we have implemented the proposed part of the curriculum for tertiary institutions at this university, so our input will be a practical one. We have not only theoretically proven it can be done but have developed multimedia teaching materials as a legacy to sustain the course as a permanent feature at this level. I will share this with the management to implement what is already working.”

He was a Director of Sign Language and Interpreting Development with the Deaf Federation of South Africa for three years (1996-1998). During that time he directed the development of the South African Sign Language (SASL) curriculum as a school subject from Grades 0-12, as well as SASL as a second language, and a proposal to tertiary institutions on what they should take note of, should they considered introducing SASL as an academic course. All of these were handed over to the Department of Education in 1997.

“Committees are a good tool to write proposals but if there is no policing of the implementation, not much seems to work,” he said.

Media Release:
Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
12 May 2010
 

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