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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

Workplace bullying can cause a toxic teaching environment
2014-04-15

A study done by the University of the Free State’s Faculty of Education exposed how teachers in South Africa fall victim to bullying in the workplace on a daily basis.

This study by Prof Corene de Wet from our School of Open Learning and Dr Lynette Jacobs from our School of Education Studies, exposed the commonness of workplace bullying (WPB) among teachers.

More than 2 700 teachers, from all school levels in urban, township, informal settlements, rural and farm schools, took part in a 43-question survey. Teachers from eight provinces were included in the study.

About 90% of the respondents were victims of WPB by school colleagues and/or management during the 12 months that preceded the study.

These acts included direct shunning, having untrue things said about them, verbal abuse, threats and ridicule, insults and teasing, damaging of possessions as well as physical violence.

Dr Jacobs says WPB is an extremely serious problem in some South African schools, compared to the occurrence in other countries.

“South African teachers are working in ‘toxic’ environments characterised by disgruntled, overworked and stressed teachers. There often are high levels of learner-on-learner and learner-on-educator violence and bullying, communities fraught with moral degradation, racial conflict, violence, lawlessness and economic despair. In schools where despair and disrespect prevail, teachers often turn on one another,” she says.

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