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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 takes further steps to address load shedding
2015-02-24

The South African economy is experiencing its worst electricity crisis since 2008, with state power firm Eskom implementing load shedding as it struggles to meet growing demand for power.

The University of the Free State (UFS) has been planning and implementing projects to reduce the impact of load shedding since 2008. This was done primarily to ensure that the academic programme does not suffer as a result of the increasing cuts in power supply, which continued this year.

The university’s main concern is the supply of emergency power to lecture halls and laboratories.

Up to date, 35 generators are serving 55 buildings on the three campuses of the UFS. This includes 26 generators on the Bloemfontein Campus, eight on the Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State and one generator on the South Campus in Bloemfontein. The generators are serviced regularly and kept in a working condition.

Since 2010, the university has also ensured that all new academic buildings being built were equipped with emergency power.

On the South Campus in Bloemfontein the new lecture hall building and the Computer Laboratory are equipped with emergency power, while the installation of emergency power generators in other buildings is underway. Most of the buildings on the Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State are provided with emergency power.

“To expand on the work that have already been done, the main objective in the installation of more generators on the Bloemfontein Campus will be to ensure that lecture halls with emergency power are available on the centrally booked timetables and that more of the critical laboratories are equipped with emergency power,” said Mr Nico Janse van Rensburg, Senior Director: University Estates.

“There are still some critical buildings and venues on the Bloemfontein Campus that must be equipped with emergency power. However, this is a costly process and will have to be phased in over a period of time. The further implementation of emergency power is dependent on delivery times of equipment. The university is also looking into alternative power supply solutions, such as solar power,” he said.

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