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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

NRF commits R30-million for research at the UFS
2007-02-20

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has committed approximately R30-million for various research projects at the University of the Free State (UFS).
 
According to Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director of Research Development at the UFS, the NRF has also approved all eight research niche areas that were submitted to the NRF, the highest number approved at any university in the country.
 
Prof Swanepoel said the 24 research projects for which funding had been obtained from the NRF ranged from traditional healing and HIV/Aids/tuberculosis management, practices of the paediatric anti-retroviral programme at the UFS to nano-materials synthesis and characterisation.
 
He said the eight research niche areas were part of an initiative at the UFS to establish strategic clusters of academic and research excellence.
 
“There will be six strategic academic clusters at the UFS and the eight NRF-approved research niche areas will form part of them,” Prof Swanepoel said.
 
The six strategic clusters are:
1.         Water management in water-scarce areas
2.         New frontiers in poverty reduction and sustainable development
3.         Social transformation in diverse societies
4.         Ecologically sound value chains for agricultural commodities
5.         Materials and nano sciences
6.         Advanced bio-molecular research
 
Prof Swanepoel said that the UFS had also submitted five proposals in terms of an NRF initiative to establish research chairs at South African universities.
 
“Linked to our intention to establish six strategic academic clusters, five proposals for the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARCHi) were submitted. All five pre-proposals were accepted in the first round of screening, and successful candidates have been invited to submit full proposals by the end of February,” he said.
 
The proposed research chairs are:
 
Petro- and organometallic chemistry
Biocatalytic and biomimetic oxidation-reduction systems
Nano-solid state lighting
People’s health and well-being
Water management
 
Speaking at the official opening of the university earlier this month, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie, said: “The cluster initiative represents a strategic initiative to focus our energies in a few key areas, investing in them so that the UFS can become an international leader in those fields.”
 
“A medium sized university such as the UFS with relatively limited human, physical and financial resources has to achieve this kind of ‘critical mass’ and synergy to establish itself in terms of its core functions of teaching/learning, research and community engagement,” said Prof Fourie.
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
20 February 2007

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