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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

Spanish academic discuss frameworks for successful higher education
2013-08-29

Prof Melanie Walker, Senior Research Professor at CHECaR, Prof Sandra Boni and Dr Sonja Loots, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the CHECaR seminar.
29 August 2013
Photo: Thabo Motsoane

In the latest Centre for Higher Education and Capabilities Research (CHECaR) seminar, Prof Sandra Boni from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain presented on ‘Competencies in Higher Education: A Critical Analysis from the Capabilities Approach.’ The presentation focused on the significant transformation taking place in universities and how that is affecting teaching and learning practices. The competencies approach plays a key role in this transformation process by associating the mastering of certain skills with successful completion of higher education qualifications.

Prof Boni and her colleagues argue that the competencies approach is flawed and too narrow to be used in evaluating successful higher education and that a broader human development perspective has to be applied. She argues that the capabilities approach represents a more inclusive framework for guiding the holistic development of students through the expansion of all human choices to achieve what they value most, not just to benefit economically from education. The inclusion of the human development framework in universities’ training would lead to generating ‘public-good professionals’ who are equipped prepared with the necessary competencies to enter their chosen career – but who will also be the bearers of a social consciousness.

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