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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

Traditional medicine can play important role in modern drugs discovery
2014-11-11

Indigenous knowledge possesses a great potential to improve science. Making use of this source may lead to advanced technological innovations. This is according to Dr Sechaba Bareetseng, UFS alumnus and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Manager at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Dr Bareetseng recently addressed the seventh annual IKS symposium on the Qwaqwa Campus.
“Interfacing indigenous and local knowledge with scientific knowledge has the potential of encouraging and developing inventions, especially in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Dr Bareetseng.
 
“Such interfacing can also enable access to both sets of knowledge without any discrimination whatsoever. It would also encourage co-existence that would improve understanding between the two.”
 
“Traditional medicine,” said Dr Bareetseng, “can play an extended role in modern drugs discovery as it is already happening in Botswana and New Zealand. These two countries are leading this wave of new thinking in as far as drug development is concerned.”
 
Dr Bareetseng also called on established researchers to start embracing the local communities into their research.
 
“Contemporary scientific research demands that local communities must co-author research conducted within and with them by the universities and research institutions. This would help in maintaining trust between the researchers and the communities that feel exploited. Regular feedback would also make communities feel part of the developments,” Dr Bareetseng argued.
 
He further called on the pharmaceutical companies specifically and researchers in general to convert valuable indigenous knowledge and resources into products and services of commercial value. “Plants, the ecosystem and indigenous knowledge must be preserved to provide a source of income for the local communities. Communities must also be protected from foreign exploitation of their intellectual property.”
 

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