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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

A huge student turnout for NBT
2010-02-24

Ms Babongile Bomela (seated, left) and Mr Riekie Vickers (seated, right) with some of the first-year students who wrote the NBT's. They both acted as invigilators for the tests.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe


More than 5 000 first-year students at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently wrote the National Benchmark Tests (NBT).

These tests are used to complement first-year students’ Grade 12 results and provide a profile of student competencies that the university can use to improve the quality of teaching and learning to enhance student success.

This was the first time that the UFS had made use of the NBTs, which were thoroughly piloted at several South African universities during 2009.

“A total of 5 449 students from the Main, South and Qwaqwa Campuses participated in this very ambitious testing process,” said Ms Merridy Wilson-Strydom from the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development (CHESD) at the UFS.

“Altogether 7 687 test papers were completed. This is an excellent turn-out and highlights our students’ commitment to their studies.”

It was compulsory for all students (excluding those from the Faculty of Health Sciences) to write the Academic and Quantitative Literacy Test (AQL). Students from the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences as well as Natural and Agricultural Sciences also wrote the Mathematics Tests.

“AQL targets students’ capacity to engage successfully with the demands of academic study in the medium of instruction, and the ability to manage situations or solve problems in a real context that is relevant to higher education study, using basic qualitative information that may be presented verbally, graphically, in tabular or symbolic form,” she explained.

“The Mathematics Test targets students’ ability with regard to mathematical concepts that are formally regarded as part of the school curriculum and tested in the Mathematics Examination Papers 1 and 2.”

The NBTs have been developed with inputs from over 300 academics from all the 23 universities in the country. They are available in English and Afrikaans.
Data integrity is quality-assured by the Assessment Systems Corporation in Michigan, USA, and further interrogated by the Education Testing Services in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

The NBT results of UFS students will be available by the middle of March 2010. First-year students who do not perform at the required proficiency level in the academic literacy domain will be required to complete a language development module. This module is offered in both English and Afrikaans, depending on the chosen medium of instruction of the student.

Media Release:
Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
2 March 2010
 

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