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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

Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Why negotiations are not an option
2014-10-23



There has been much speculation if the recently announced ceasefire in Nigeria as well as talks with Boko Haram will indeed secure the release of about 200 girls kidnapped by this religious militant group.

Talks already started between the government and Boko Haram but there are still doubts if the girls will be freed and if the Nigerian government can successfully negotiate with Boko Haram. Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor at the University of the Free State, regards this current negotiations as a terrible idea.

“At a time when Boko Haram’s strength is escalating, the correlatory weakness of the Nigerian government is increasingly exposed. As Nigerians prepare for the next presidential elections, embattled President Goodluck Jonathan is increasingly desperate to negotiate with Boko Haram to secure the release of schoolgirls seized by the terrorists earlier this year and to negotiate a ceasefire. This is a terrible idea. It makes a mockery of the rule of law and of the thousands of innocent victims of the militant violence. More importantly, it will only serve to fuel the terrorists’ ambitions further as the powerlessness of the government is exposed.”

Prof Solomon says religious intolerance is on the rise on the African continent, with a concomitant rise in terrorist incidents. In Algeria, extremist terrorism carries the name of Jund al Khilafah or Caliphate Soldiers in Algeria. In Mali it is Ansar Dine or Defenders of the Faith. In Somalia it is Al Shabaab (The Youth). But none of these organisations come close to the carnage wrought by Nigeria’s Boko Haram (literally meaning Western education is forbidden).

Boko Haram has carried out more than 1 000 attacks since 2010, which has resulted in the deaths of 10 000 people and a further 6 million affected by this terrorist violence. The 300 000 Nigerian refugees who have fled this tsunami of terrorism and have sought refuge in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, provide adequate testimony to the human costs of such terrorism. Boko Haram, meanwhile, has formed tactical alliances with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al Shabaab and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which means that the groups are sharing intelligence, tactics and material support. This cooperation has also resulted in increasingly sophisticated terror attacks mounted by Boko Haram.

Read more about Prof Solomon and his research.


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