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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

Rhodes professor calls for accountability in teacher education
2013-11-14

 

 Prof Jean Baxen of Rhodes University and Prof Dennis Francis, Dean of the Faculty of Education of the UFS.
Photo: Stephen Collett
15 November 2013

 



Lecture (pdf)

 

“Our education system needs quality teacher education.”

This was the message from Prof Jean Baxen, Deputy Dean of Research at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. She delivered the Education Public Lecture on ‘The lives of children, citizenship and teacher education: challenges and opportunities’ at the University of the Free State’s Bloemfontein Campus.

Growing up in White River, the rural areas of Eastern Transvaal (as it was previously known), Prof Baxen took the audience on a journey of the imagination. She shared stories of how she and fellow learners walked miles to get to school and how her son found himself in a situation of being unsure about his own racial identity, questioning what it meant to be ‘coloured’. She also related stories of how teachers are not sufficiently prepared to mediate information on HIV/Aids.

These stories revealed how little teachers cared, and also how difficult and challenging it is for learners to cope in such teaching and learning environments – thus calling for quality teacher education.

She stressed the fact that quality teacher education is needed in South Africa to assist in curbing the challenges children and fellow citizens come across in our broader society. “It is important that, as teacher educators, we should groom teachers to find and understand their identity, sexuality, and also the world they live in. There is an urgent need for us to hold ourselves and others accountable and to not distance ourselves and make it someone else’s responsibility – it is our joint responsibility as citizens,” she said.

We need a pedagogy that would navigate and start formulating a language that we could use to face these challenges, she proposed.

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