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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

Universities now public spaces to exercise citizenship
2016-08-30

Description: Prof Lis Lange critical conversation Tags: Prof Lis Lange critical conversation

Prof Lis Lange believes universities have a critical
role to play in advancing democracy.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

In an attempt to promote common understanding on governance, leadership, and management processes at the University of the Free State (UFS), the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ) recently hosted a critical conversation on the Qwaqwa Campus that was facilitated by Vice-Rector: Academic, Prof Lis Lange.

Prof Lange’s presentation firstly focused on the role that universities play, and the expectations thereof.

“From ancient history, universities have always had a critical role to play in the broader society,” she said. “They have always been characterised by the circulation of knowledge and ideas at a global level. They have always ensured that students’ skills and knowledge are properly certified.”

According to her, universities have changed quite a bit over the centuries.

“Historically, universities used to cater for the chosen few, but they now allow multitudes to have access as well. In the early 20th century, women and foreigners, for example, were excluded. How they relate to the society has also changed. They also used to create certain types of knowledge – at one stage this knowledge was influenced by the church. Research is now produced across a large spectrum of human and scientific knowledge,” she said.

Prof Lange also added that universities now even have a responsibility to advance democracy and to respond to societal needs.

“Despite the various tensions and contradictions between management and academic staff, between management and students, and between academic staff and students, universities are now public spaces to exercise citizenship. They provide space for all to have the right to speak and to be heard. They provide space for all to have similar rights and responsibilities,’ she said, while breaking down all the governance, leadership and management structures of the UFS.

The conversation was concluded with a question and answer session, with students mainly asking about internal UFS processes.

The session was well received by students.

“I really loved the conversation, which to me, was about breaking the walls between the management and students so as to achieve the goal of an effective university. We need more of these dialogues,” said Noxola Tshabalala, a BA Psychology student.

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