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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. 



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Meet Dr Olihile Sebolai, Prestige Scholar
2013-07-15

 

Dr Olihile Sebolai
Photo: Sonia Small
15 July 2013


Dr Olihile Sebolai, lecturer in the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, was selected to the Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholars Programme (PSP) in 2011. Dr Sebolai recently returned from a six month research visit to the University of Birmingham at the invitation of Professor Robin May, Lister Reader and Chair of Infectious Diseases.

This enabled Dr Sebolai to acquire and develop necessary pathobiological skills pertinent to his work on the pathogenesis of Cryptococcus neoformans. “During my time in Birmingham, I benefitted from the experiences of three senior post-doctorates and a principal investigator, who were all working in (Prof May’s) laboratory,” says Dr Sebolai.

“By way of observation, I was greatly impressed by the level of collaboration between Prof May and his network, which enables him to move out of a silo and effortlessly create a global footprint."

The next phase of Dr Sebolai’s early career development takes him as Fulbright Scholar to the University of Missouri in Kansas City, in September 2013. Here Dr Sebolai will spend time in the laboratory of Alexander Idnurm. The purpose of this visit is to study virulence mechanisms in fungi, which are a low order of eukaryotic organisms, and to identify potential drug targets.

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