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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

New Dean of Student Affairs appointed
2016-08-23

Description: Pura Mgolombane Tags: Pura Mgolombane

Pura Mgolombane, newly-appointed
Dean of Student Affairs at the
University of the Free State.
Photo: Charl Devenish

“Students must always remember that people are human beings before any other identity they may embody.”

This is the message to the students of the UFS campuses from Pura Mgolombane, newly-appointed Dean of Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS) in August 2016. He has replaced Cornelia Faasen, who acted as Dean from December 2014 to July 2016.   

Being part of the Kovsie community
Previously, he was part of the Kovsie family as Assistant Dean of Student Life and Leadership (2011-2013). Before that, he was the Diversity, Ethics, and Social Justice Manager at the University of the Witwatersrand from August 2013 to July 2016. Mgolombane said he is most excited to “observe and experience an inclusive culture” at the university.

“I am looking forward to being part of a team that creates sufficient conditions for every member of the Kovsie community to feel that they belong here; from Qwaqwa campus, to South campus, to Bloemfontein campus.”

Making sure humanity comes first
His primary focus will be “to create Humanising Student Lived Experiences”. I want to create conditions where students feel that their humanity matters, because it is in such conditions that students are likely to excel academically,” he said.

These conditions will be created through the introduction of programmes and activities known as pedagogies, namely the humanising pedagogy and the pedagogy of discomfort. “All of these pedagogies and frameworks will be contained and further clarified in the Dean of Student Affairs Strategy which will be finalised no later than December 2016.”

Overcoming challenges faced by students
Regarding the challenges facing UFS students, Mgolombane said that “it is only when all out humanity is affirmed that we are likely to find lasting peace.

“Those who are in power or privileged positions have a responsibility to be in solidarity with the marginalised groups in pursuit of Social Justice.”

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