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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

UFS makes history as a second researcher – Prof Melanie Walker – receives NRF A-rating
2014-12-03

Prof Melanie Walker
Photo: Sonia Small

Prof Melanie Walker, Senior Research Professor at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development (CRHED) has received an A1 rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF). This rating acknowledges Prof Walker as a leading international researcher – her work unequivocally recognised by peers world-wide for its high quality and wide impact.

This is the first time in our institution’s history that two A-ratings are awarded simultaneously. Prof Maxim Finkelstein from the Department of Mathematical Statistics also recently received an A2-rating in Probability and Statistics from the NRF.

“Achieving this outstanding rating,” Prof Walker says, “is not just an individual achievement. I have had tremendous personal support and rich intellectual collaborations from wonderful colleagues on the way. The award also recognises the Rector’s project to build a dynamic research culture at UFS.”

Prof Walker has been researching and writing about issues in education and higher education for over 20 years. In particular she is interested in opportunities into, through and beyond education across dimensions of dis/advantage, and how higher education contributes to building a decent society by removing inequalities in its own policies and processes.

Through her focus on capacity building – around the common theme of higher education, human development and social justice – Prof Walker is developing a dynamic cohort of new-generation scholars. Her research group of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows is drawn from countries not only in Africa, but as far afield as Finland, India and Vietnam.

Her networks attract international scholars to the UFS, who contribute to research projects, engage graduate students, and add a considerable contribution to research at our university.

In addition, Prof Walker fulfils a host of roles, which includes:

• Tier One National Research Foundation (NRF) Chair in Higher Education and Human Development.
• Vice-President of the international Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA).
• Fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
• Honorary professor, University of Nottingham, UK.

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