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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 satisfied with proceedings of EFF National People’s Assembly
2014-12-17

The University of the Free State (UFS) is happy about another successful hosting of a political party; this time, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). In the recent past (December 2012), the UFS hosted the African National Congress (ANC) with the same energy, support and selfless commitment as with the EFF.

“The fact that the EFF paid the required amount for the use of the university’s venues in full before the congress commenced, bears testimony to this. For the past two months, the UFS’s working team worked closely with the EFF’s logistics team to thoroughly plan for a smooth and successful National People’s Assembly,” says Dr Choice Makhetha, Acting Rector of the UFS.

The hard work and commitment invested in the preparation process paid off. The 1st EFF National People’s Assembly, held 13-16 December 2014 on the Bloemfontein Campus, was a huge success.

“It is with great excitement that I can report that all premises of the UFS have been left the way they were found on arrival; no damage to any property and no littering.”

“Thank you to the UFS staff members who worked selflessly on a daily basis: the cleaning staff who started very early in the morning and went home very late at night; garden staff who made sure that the grounds were exceptionally clean every day and the flowers bright; student volunteers who worked shifts of over 24 hours on the first day, making sure that EFF delegates were checked into residences; staff members at the Visitors Centre who were ready to share information about the university and provide support to EFF delegates; staff members at the Odeion (which served as media centre) who ensured that the national and international media houses were comfortable and that the media conferences ran smoothly; safety and security personnel who provided protection for all the people on campus and also ensuring safety of the buildings; the health and safety officers supported by our partners from ER24 emergency services; and the South African Police Services (SAPS). To the electricians, the plumbers and other colleagues from Physical Resources who assisted with any task, even beyond the call of duty, we say thank you. For all the support and extra miles travelled – we appreciate your passion for the work you do; you are all very important to us at the UFS.”

“As the University of the Free State, we would like to express our gratitude to the leadership of the EFF, the delegates, guests and partners, as well as the media houses. The level of discipline among delegates was impressive. The UFS staff members appreciate the level of professionalism and respect shown by the EFF leadership and delegates. All the best for the future!,” says Dr Makhetha.

The UFS will continue to host political parties, interest groups, associations and more in their diversity, provided there is availability of venues, events are held outside the academic period and payment is received well ahead of hosting. As a public institution of higher learning, the university has a responsibility to promote democracy and help deepen the principles thereof. A university is a perfect platform for differing views and diverse political formations to find expression.

“To the UFS community, thank you for the trust you showed in the working team as it prepared to host the EFF’s 1st National People’s Assembly. To Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and the Free State Province – we appreciate the support. As the University of the Free State, we know we can always count on you!”, says Dr Makhetha.  

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