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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

R2,5 million received from FNB Fund for Universal Access and Disability Support
2017-10-18

Description: FNB CUADS Funding Tags: FNB CUADS Funding
Tinotenda Magaya (left at the back), Robert Shoba and
Manus van Rooyen are some of the CUADS students
who will benefit from the money donated by the FNB Fund.
In front are Martie Miranda (left), Head of CUADS, and
Thandeka Rantsi from the FNB Fund.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

Funding isn’t only about giving money to provide access to education. There are many factors that contribute to the successful completion of studies, and this is even more applicable to students with disabilities. 

That is why the FNB Fund decided to continue and further its relationship with the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) at the University of the Free State (UFS). The fund recently donated nearly R2.5 million for 2017, 2018, and 2019 to CUADS in order to assist students with tuition fees, study material, accommodation and supportive devices. 

A total of 11 students will benefit from the R 2 497 440. The UFS previously received R200 000 (2014), R238 000 (2015), and R192 500 (2016) from the FNB Fund.

“The FNB Fund would like to take it
a step further and not only provide
access in terms of funding, but also
provide all the support that
students require to be able
to complete their studies.”

Funders should be aware of challenges

“The FNB Fund would like to take it a step further and not only provide access in terms of funding, but also provide all the necessary support that students require to be able to complete their studies,” says Thandeka Rantsi from the FNB Fund.

The fund also partners with disability units from the University of Stellenbosch, the University of the Western Cape, and the University of Cape Town.

Rantsi says funders should be aware of the challenges students with disabilities face in order to provide the right support as their challenges are more extensive.

More flexible funding than others

Martie Miranda, Head of CUADS, says they are very grateful. “In comparison with other funding, this funding provides more flexibility. Because of the gap between government funding and students’ needs, there are always students who fall out of the criteria for the NSFAS bursary. Then the FNB funding comes in very handy.”

According to her, government funding is never enough. She says the FNB funding enables them to address specific needs such as equipment, accommodation etc. as they have more leeway than prescribed NSFAS amounts.

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