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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

Short course in Applied Conservation Genetics developed at UFS
2014-08-22

 

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

During discussions with stakeholders in Kenya in 2013, a need was identified for training in conservation genetics with an African emphasis. In answer, Prof Paul Grobler from the Department of Genetics developed a short course in Applied Conservation Genetics.

Some of the phenomena studied in this field include:
• hybridisation between species such as blue wildebeest and black wildebeest,
• wildlife poaching and
• potential inbreeding in small game-farm populations.

From the onset, the course has been developed as an international venture. To this end, Dr Frank Zachos from the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria, committed himself to the project. Dr Jamie Roberts from the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech University in the USA also came on board. Both pledged their time and expertise to the course – without any financial gain.

Subsequently, our Department of Genetics presented this short course at the National Zoological Gardens (NZG) in Pretoria earlier this year. The team of presenters included Prof Grobler, Dr Zachos and Dr Roberts. They were joined by Dr Desire Dalton from the Research Division of the NZG, who added valuable practical experience to the presentations.

The course assumes a degree of prior knowledge of population and molecular genetics. A strong emphasis is placed on practical applications. The programme includes a strong component of statistics and hands-on training in the many approaches and software used in population genetics.

The group that attended the course included a contingent from the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Dutch postgraduate students currently working at the University of Johannesburg and delegates from across South Africa.

This successful meeting followed an experimental first round of the course presented in Nairobi during 2013, attended by representatives from Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Mexico and Belgium.


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