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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

An out-of-this-world experience
2015-12-14

Film premiere hosts Professor Matie Hoffman, manager of the Naval Hill Planetarium and the planetarium’s operations manager, Tina Mangope.

The Naval Hill Planetarium in Bloemfontein premiered two new short astronomy films on 4 December 2015, with marvellous cosmic visuals explaining how the earth and all the planetary formations in our galaxy and the universe were created.

The two films, aptly titled ‘Cosmic Collisions’ and ‘Journey to the Stars’, were both made to enhance people’s knowledge about the universe and the vast dynamics within it. They were donated to the Bloemfontein-based planetarium by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with several other US space science intuitions, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

“These two fantastic state-of-the-art films are scientifically accurate and very expansive,” said Professor Matie Hoffman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of the Free State. Hoffman is also the planetarium’s manager.

Nestled in the bushy landscape of historic Naval Hill - also home to the iconic statue of Nelson Mandela and the Franklin Game Reserve - the Naval Hill Planetarium was opened in 2013. It is the first digital planetarium in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is situated at the old Lamont-Hussey Observatory Building, which was closed in 1972.



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