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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

Colloquium focuses on rural education
2012-10-10

Some of the international delegates during the second annual colloquium on rural education recently held at the Qwaqwa Campus.
10 October 2012

 The second edition of the Sustainable Rural Learning Ecologies (SuRLEc) Colloquium was held at the University of the Free State's Qwaqwa Campus this week. This three-day international event provided the Faculty of Education's postgraduate students with a platform to present their research and to learn from experienced researchers from all over the world.

In his opening address, the Faculty's Programme Head, Dr Dipane Hlalele, challenged all delegates to translate their research into achievable goals to address all the challenges facing rural education.

"Excellence in teaching and learning in a rural context remains a challenge for all sectors and levels of the education endeavour," Dr Hlalele said.

"Urban and metropolitan schools, colleges and universities may unintentionally structure their learning programmes in such a manner that they neglect rural attributes. This results in the marginalising of learners and students from rural environments. To complete the loop, these institutions are more likely to fail in preparing graduates for decisive contributions to sustainable rural learning ecologies," Dr Hlalele added.

The colloquium was officially opened by the Vice-Rector: External Relations, Dr Choice Makhetha, who highlighted the fact that the UFS was already doing its bit in levelling the learning playfields in higher education.

"We are aware that many of our students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds find it hard to cope at university. As a result, we are not waiting for them to come through to us. We are already in partnership with a number of schools where we help learners to improve their results," Dr Makhetha said.

The crucial role played by rural teachers was celebrated during a gala dinner to honour and acknowledge their efforts despite a myriad of daily challenges.

Ms Jabulile Mabaso (The Mills Primary Farm School) was honoured for 'Excellence in multi-grade teaching in Foundation and Intermediate phases'. Ms Rekha Mathew (Sibonakaliso Primary Farm School) and Mr Andries Motsoere (Tshebedisano Primary Farm School) were awarded for 'Excellence in managing multi-grade curriculum'.

The 2012 SuRLEc Honorary Award went to Ms Motshedisi Damane for her valuable contribution to the development of rural education in the Thabo Mofutsanyana Education District. Last year's recipient was the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Professor Dennis Francis.

Delegates and keynote speakers came from Thailand, Malaysia, the Unites States of America as well as the SADC countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. South Africa was represented by the Universities of the North-West, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and CUT, amongst others.

 

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