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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

SASOL TRAC laboratory launched at UFS Qwaqwa Campus
2006-05-08

Some of the guests attending the launch of the Sasol TRAC Laboratory at the University of the Free State's (UFS) Qwaqwa Campus were from the left Prof Peter Mbati (Principal of the Qwaqwa Campus), Mrs Zimbini Zwane ( Communications Manager of Sasol Infrachem), Prof Gerhardt  de Klerk (Dean : UFS Faculty of the Humanities), Prof Fred Hugo
 Director of TRAC SA) and Prof Jack van der Linde (Director of RIEP at the UFS).

SASOL TRAC laboratory launched at UFS Qwaqwa Campus

The Research Institute for Education Planning (RIEP) of the University of the Free State (UFS) today unveiled the Sasol TRAC Laboratory at its Qwaqwa campus.

The laboratory will be used to help grade 10, 11 and 12 learners and educators from the Qwaqwa region to conduct the experiments from the physical sciences outcome-based curriculum.

“The Sasol TRAC Laboratory introduces learners not only to the latest technology used by engineers and other scientists in practice but also to stimulate the learner’s interest in the field of science in such a way that more of them will enter into science related careers,” says Mr Cobus van Breda, Co-ordinator of the TRAC Free State Regional Centre.

According to Mr van Breda the newly established Sasol TRAC Laboratory will enable RIEP to train learners and their educators in Physical Sciences.  The laboratory will consist of six work stations equipped with computers and electronic sensors.

“Learners from the Qwaqwa region will visit the Sasol TRAC Laboratory on regular basis to conduct experiments based on the curriculum.  Data will be collected with electronic apparatus and presented as graphs on the computer so that results can be analysed and interpreted,” says Mr van Breda.

“There is a serious shortage of suitable qualified teachers in maths and science in the Qwaqwa region.  Many schools in the region are not yet part of the RIEP project and are in dire need of assistance.  A large number of these schools are in remote areas not reached regularly by intervention programmes,” says Prof Peter Mbati, Principal of the UFS Qwaqwa Campus.

“The establishment of the Sasol TRAC Laboratory at the Qwaqwa Campus provides us the opportunity to engage with our community and assist in the development and training of these vital education subjects.  We are pleased that Sasol agreed to fund the project,” says Prof Mbati.

Students from the Qwaqwa Campus will also benefit from the TRAC programme.   “Some promising students will also undergo further training and become assistants for the TRAC programme,” says Prof Mbati. 

“Nurturing science and mathematical skills is of great importance in growing our national economy. Annually, Sasol invests more than R50 million in supporting mathematical and science education in South Africa. Our primary aim is to increase the number of learners gaining access to tertiary education in the science fields. Therefore, our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) education interventions at secondary school level focus on educator development and direct learner interventions such as the Sasol TRAC Laboratory,” explains Ms Pamilla Mudhray, CSI and SHARP manager at Sasol.

According to Ms Mudhray the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement for physical sciences in the further education and training (FET) phase from 2006, under resourced schools will need greater access to the tools and equipment necessary to teach the syllabus and fulfil the ideals of the curriculum.

TRAC South Africa is a national non-profit programme focused on supporting and expanding science, mathematics and technology education in secondary schools. The programme was first introduced to South Africa in 1994. In 2005, RIEP established the TRAC Free State regional centre on the UFS Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
5 May 2006

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