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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

Golden Key recognises top achievers
2012-08-29

A jam packed audience listens to the keynote address at the UFS Golden Key Annual new members’ ceremony.
Photo: Stephen Collett
29 August 2012

Recognising academic excellence at the University of the Free State (UFS), the world’s biggest academic honour society, Golden Key International Honour Society, selected a record number of Kovsie students as new members this year.

More than 700 top achievers have been invited to join the prestige academic society – the biggest crop of students thus far.

New members, the top 15% of academic students at Kovsies, were welcomed to the society’s UFS Chapter at an induction ceremony held on Saturday 25 August 2012. The ceremony also saw Justice Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council, Mr Billyboy Ramahlele, Director Community Engagement, and Prof. Hendrik Swart, Senior Professor in Physics at the UFS being recognised as honorary members of the society. The event, held at the Kovsie Church, drew a large crowd with the venue packed to capacity.

Sibusiso Tshabalala, a third-year BCom Law student, and recently selected as one of ten Google Young Minds for 2012, delivered the keynote address. Structuring his talk around dreams, fears and music, Sibusiso told students they had joined a global community of students who valued academic achievement, leadership and service. “In a country where rhetoric triumphs over logic and mediocrity rules supreme, while excellence is fast becoming taboo, we need the thinkers to do the leading.”

Dr Derek Swemmer, Registrar and co-advisor of the UFS Chapter, told the students they had demonstrated the ability and now had to fulfil their potential. He was appointed as Chairperson of the society’s governing body in March this year.

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