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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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Short course in population, environment and development draws participants from across the world
2013-09-04

Participants at this year’s short course in the Population, Environment and Development (PED) nexus.
4 September 2013

In 2006 the university, in collaboration with several national and international partners, such as the Department of Social Development (DSD), Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD): Southern and Eastern Africa, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and South African National Parks (SANParks, particularly Golden Gate Highlands National Park), launched a short course in the Population, Environment and Development (PED) nexus. Since 2006 a total of ten courses were presented and more than 300 mid-career managers, senior officials and NGO volunteers from across the world received training. The most recent course included participants from Vietnam, China, Tunisia, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Mexico and Uganda.

Colleagues from several academic departments and centres at the UFS – Sociology, Environmental Management, Development Studies and Disaster Management, in collaboration with the DSD and LEAD – gave theoretical inputs during the course, while colleagues from SANParks were primarily responsible for the facilitation of the practical visit on site. The PED nexus training programme has received international recognition as a best practice example of successful initiatives of this kind.

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