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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

Transformation in higher education discussed at colloquium
2013-05-16

16 May 2013

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The University of the Free State hosted the Higher Education Transformation Colloquium earlier this month on the Bloemfontein Campus.

On Monday 6 May 2013 till Wednesday 8 May 2013 the event brought together a wide range of stakeholders, including some members of university councils; vice-chancellors; academics and researchers; leaders of student formations and presidents of student representative councils; transformation managers; executive directors with responsibility for transformation in various universities, members of the newly established Transformation Oversight Committee and senior representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training.

The event examined and debated some of the latest research studies and practices on the topic, as well as selected case studies from a number of public universities in South Africa.

Delivering a presentation at the colloquium, Dr Lis Lange, Senior Director of the Directorate for Institutional Research and Academic Planning at the UFS, said transformation in South Africa has been oversimplified and reduced to numbers, and the factors that might accelerate or slow the process have not been taken into account.

Dr Lange was delivering a paper, titled: The knowledge(s) of transformation: an archaeological perspective.

Dr Lange argued that “in the process of translating evolving political arguments into policy making, the intellectual, political and moral elements that shaped the conceptualisation of transformation in the early 1990s in South Africa, were reduced and oversimplified.”

She said crucial aspects of this reduction were the elimination of paradox and contradiction in the concept; the establishment of one accepted register of what transformation was and it is becoming sector-specific or socially blind. This means that the process was narrowed down in the policy texts and in the corresponding implementation strategies to the transformation of higher education, the schools system, the judiciary and the media, without keeping an eye on the structural conditions that can influence it in one way or another.

Dr Lange said the need for accountability further helped with reduction of transformation. “Because government and social institutions are accountable for their promises, transformation had to be measured and demonstrated.”

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