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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

UFS shares expertise in Sign Language
2009-05-07

 
The University of the Free State (UFS) is continuing in its commitment to reach out to other universities on the African continent. Mr Philemon Akach (pictured), a senior lecturer in the Department of Afro-Asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice, recently visited the University of Ghana to share his expertise and assist in the introduction of the Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL) as an academic course in that institution. The course will first be piloted as an “elective course” and if successful it will be a permanent feature of the University of Ghana's calendar.

Mr Akach has been instrumental in the development of GSL since the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sent him on a fact-finding mission regarding the education of deaf children in Ghana in 1993. Since then he has trained interpreters as well as parents and teachers of deaf children in Ghana in using the South African Sign Language multimedia grammar teaching materials. He has also guided the GSL Dictionary Project. The University of Ghana will use his books as the basis for the teaching of the GSL. This session was a follow-up to the one he had with that university in February this year.

The UFS is widely regarded as a beacon of light in the teaching of sign language on the continent and, together with the University of Witwatersrand, are the only universities in South Africa that offer sign language as an academic course.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

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