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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

Internet Broadcast Project wins international award
2014-05-05

The Enterprise Video Awards (EVA) named Kovsies’ Internet Broadcast Project (IBP) the winner of the Innovation in Pedagogy category. During a glitzy ceremony on 28 April 2014 in Madison, USA, Edward Musgrave, Deputy Director of the ICTISE Division, took to the stage to receive the award.

The IBP makes use of the best teachers in the Free State to broadcast lessons on more than ten subjects to school learners who do not have access to quality education. And it is not only the learners who benefit. Their teachers receive invaluable training in the process as well.

This remarkable programme provided the judges with plentiful evidence to be named the winner. The IBP team had to come up with highly innovative solutions to overcome the costs of local bandwidth constraints. The result? High definition videos being streamed in real time across a 1Meg line. Simultaneously to 70 centres across the Free State. Added to that is the fact that multiple images are broadcast as one, reaching 43 000 learners and 1 250 teachers per week. To top it all, the broadcast is interactive – the learners can ask questions directly to the teacher during the lesson.

All of this at no cost to the schools.

“It is remarkable for a South African university to receive this international recognition,” said Sarietjie Musgrave, heading up the ICTISE programme at the South Campus. “It raises awareness, not only for the work we do, but also the community work the university does,” she said.

And now the Free State has the highest pass rate of matriculants in South Africa.

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