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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

Social work students off to Sweden on exchange programme
2015-08-17


Excited about the prospects of studying in Sweden, Letttie and Moratoe already have their bags packed. Photo: Valentino Ndaba

In 2011 the university signed an exchange programme agreement with Jönköping University (JU), in Sweden. Since the inception of the contract the UFS Department of Social Work has been able to send two second year students to the guest university for a semester annually while also hosting students from JU.

 

The UFS is one of only 350 partner universities that JU co-operates with on an international level. The university that describes itself as “the most international university on Sweden” welcomes 714 exchanged students annually. This year, their School of Health and Welfare will host two of our Social work students, Moratoe Tshabalala and Lettie Mohoko; who are the fourth duo to take this unique opportunity.

These Kovsies will join the JU from 17 August-20 December 2015. By focusing on Swedish Social work and welfare policy, participation and inclusion, and Old-age care, they intend to use the learning experience to influence our country’s welfare system.

Growing up in Wesselsbron - a small town in the Free State, Lettie has always been passionate about working with people and having a positive impact on their lives. She sees the exchange programme as an opportunity to gain an international perspective which will provide more skills, hence improving her community engagement.

Moratoe, who is from the small town of Senekal, echoed similar sentiments, adding that she is interested in the distinctiveness of Sweden’s social welfare system, which offers free education, where old people get free care from the government, and children get incentives to attend school.

Lettie and Moratoe also volunteer as representatives of the UFS at ENGO Family Care, a non-profit organisation in Bloemfontein.

Dr Anneline Keet, Head of the UFS Social Work Department, believes that the exchange experience enhances the students’ critical thinking, and facilitates their ability to engage with different social welfare systems. While only two students are able to experience the full exchange annually, the rest of the students also benefit from the discussions taking place in class where students from the guest university (JU) join them for a semester.

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