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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

Prof André Keet elected to Council on Higher Education and as Social Cohesion Advocate for Department of Arts and Culture
2015-06-17

Earlier this year, the Minister of Higher Education and Training,Dr Blade Nzimande, appointed Prof André Keet from the UFS’s Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice to the Council on Higher Education (CHE). Given his focus on higher education studies and transformation, Prof Keet said he is looking forward to serving on this council.

Functions of CHE

“One of the main functions of the CHE,” Prof Keet said, “is to advise the Minister of Higher Education and Training on all aspects of higher education policy.” Other vital functions include the development and implementation of a quality assurance system specifically for higher education as well as to monitor and report on the state of higher education in general. The CHE also engages closely with key national issues and international trends to ensure the continual development of our higher education system.

Social cohesion advocate and additional appointments

In addition, Prof Keet has been appointed recently as a Social Cohesion Advocate linked to the work of the Department of Arts and Culture’s social cohesion programme, which advises the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa. Prof Keet also serves on the Ministerial Oversight Committee for the Transformation of Higher Education in South Africa, and Higher Education South Africa’s (HESA) transformation structures.

“These appointments serve the interests of the University of the Free State, and affirm the great work being done at the university. I’m simply part of a collective effort at the university, and salute the students and staff members who work tirelessly on the Academic and Human Projects of UFS,” Prof Keet said.

Dr Nzimande has announced recently that a second Higher Education Summit, following the one in 2010, will be convened from 15 – 17 October 2015.

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