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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

Student Transformation Forum kicks off
2010-08-19

Ms Nida Jooste and Ms Modieyi Mothole
Photo: Lize du Plessis

The establishment of a Broad Student Transformation Forum (BSTF) at the University of the Free State (UFS) was initiated yesterday with a student consultative forum called to determine the agenda and delegations to the BSTF.

The establishment of the BSTF follows the suspension of the functioning of the Student Representative Council (SRC) recently and aims to provide students broadly with the opportunity to reach consensus regarding student governance at the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

The meeting was chaired by student affairs specialist Prof. Cecil Bodibe and was attended by representatives from student associations from all faculties, representatives of non-faculty student associations and representatives from residences. Commuter students were represented through private student associations.

“The meeting clearly expressed agreement that decisions taken by the BSTF should ensure that the student body and student-life programmes truly reflect our constitutional commitment to building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society, and that collaboration between students and management in affecting the decisions of the BSTF to achieve this should be prioritised,” Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, said.

The forum agreed that apart from addressing specific questions pertaining to student governance, the BSTF should also address transformation issues broadly. The forum also agreed that the delegations to the BSTF should ensure that the forum is truly representative of the diverse student population and is inclusive of all stakeholder groups, including international students and students with disability. A proper process to determine the credentials of participating association was requested and will be implemented.

The meeting furthermore expressed the wish that the BSTF should exist only to determine the key changes that should be made to student governance now, so that the postponed SRC elections may continue as soon as possible. The BSTF will thus have a temporary role to enable the student body to reach consensus regarding changes to the SRC constitution.

Meanwhile, an Interim Student Committee (ISC) was appointed, which has the role to ensure the continuation of daily student life programmes and to ensure student representation in management and governance of the university continues during the deliberations of the BSTF. The ISC serves as an interim structure that will dissolve when a new SRC takes office following the outcome of the BSTF and the continuation of the SRC election.

The ISC consists of 15 members who were appointed through a process of nomination of four (4) members each from the faculty-student associations, non-faculty student associations and from residences, and three (3) members from the student executive committees of Kovsie Community Service, the Irawa student newspaper and the Kovsie Rag executive committee.

The ISC elected Ms Modieyi Mothole and Ms Nida Jooste as its chairperson and deputy-chairperson, respectively.
“I’m encouraged with the initiative and response of students to ensure student governance continues, which bears witness to the depth of leadership our student body holds, while the level of engagement by students in the BSTF indicates that the student body seriously consider issues of transformation,” said Mr Buys.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg.)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
19 August 2010
 

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