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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

Seminar puts language issues under spotlight
2012-06-29

The South African Languages Bill does not meet the Constitution’s requirements and is not doing much to curb English monolingualism.

This viewpoint of a number of critics was discussed at a language seminar at the University of the Free State (UFS) this week.

The Faculty of the Humanities at the UFS presented the seminar on the Bloemfontein Campus, where interested parties could discuss issues and developments relating to the South African Languages Bill.

The seminar formed part of the combined annual conference of the South African Applied Linguistics Association, the Linguistic Society of Southern Africa and the South African Association for Language Teachers.

At the conference, the rich diversity of language and also the complexity of language in South Africa was recognised.

The latest South African Languages Bill has attracted much interest and varied viewpoints this past year.

One of the most significant - and also the most controversial - suggestion of the present bill is to extend the present bi-language obligation to a four-language obligation, which implies that at least one African language is added to the present formula.

Furthermore, there are other important stipulations regarding the establishment of language units that will have implications for the public service, and specifically, for language practitioners.

Prof. Koos Malan, a Constitutional Law expert from the University of Pretoria, speaking during a discussion session, said: “Language determination in constitutions and language legislation are indications of the official ideology towards dealing with language and cultural diversity in the specific state. The ideology can range from the support of multilingualism – at the one extreme – to the other extreme, where only one language will get preference as the official language.”

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