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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

Students attend prestigious National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme
2014-08-22


From the left are: Thokozane Ngcongwane with Mbali Xaba and Thabo Kumalo (both third-year Physics and Chemistry students).

Three students from our Qwaqwa Campus – Thokozane Ngcongwane, Mbali Xaba and Thabo Kumalo – were recently selected to attend the prestigious National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP). The programme – in partnership with the National Research Foundation (NRF) – ran for two weeks at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town.

The project targets students from formerly disadvantaged institutions of higher learning, where astronomy and astrophysics are not offered.

Students are invited to apply for the programme, with emphasis placed on students majoring in mathematics and physics. Students from other fields are also invited to apply, though. The programme allows for the development of black astronomers and astrophysicists, which are in demand in the ever-growing environment of astronomy in South Africa.

“Topics such as gravitational lenses, black holes, stellar evolution and the mysteries of cosmology were presented and students were invited to engage with the speakers during and after the presentations,” said Ngcongwane, a third-year Zoology and Entomology student.

The programme challenged them to work on basic astrophysical concepts in groups while individual written assignments were part of the learning process as well.

“Given the lack of information about the complexities of astronomy the students had, this was the most ideal time to learn about all matters astronomy and astrophysics as lectures offered a lot to young and excited minds,” Ngcongwane said.

 

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