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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

UFS celebrates Kagiso Trust’s 30 years of commitment to the empowerment of impoverished communities
2015-07-15

From the left are: MEC Tate Makgoe, Free State Department of Education; Busi Tshabalala, Thabo Mofutsanyana Education District Director; Dean Zwo Nevhutalu,  Kagiso Trust Trustee  and UFS Director of Community Engagement, Bishop, Billy Ramahlele.
Photo: ?Thabo Kessah

Future sustainable partnerships in education will survive only if all partners are committed, honest, and transparent.

This is the view expressed by the Free State MEC for Education and UFS Council member, Tate Makgoe, during the panel discussion at the Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State celebrating Kagiso Trust’s 30 years of commitment to the empowerment of impoverished communities. The topic was “The future partnership models for education in Africa”.

“Over the years, the partnership between the Free State Department of Education, the UFS, and Kagiso Trust has helped to expose the potential in our mainly rural children in the Qwaqwa area of the Thabo Mofutsanyana district,” said Makgoe.

”When we started in 2009, the matric pass rate in the district was 64%, and this rose to 87% in 2014. In Qwaqwa alone, we have managed to build 51 computer and 26 physical sciences laboratories. It was these laboratories that enabled the Free State to be the best performing province in the Physical Sciences in 2013,” added Makgoe.

“None of these achievements would have been possible if all the partners had not been committed to the course. Partnerships built on honesty and transparency are the best model, which we hope to export to other provinces and, indeed, countries,” Makgoe said.

Representing the UFS on the panel was the Director of Community Engagement, Bishop Billy Ramahlele, who added that collaborations can be successful only if the leadership was exemplary.

“As the university, we have had many collaboration with various government departments, and great strides have been achieved only with the Department of Education under the leadership of MEC Makgoe,” said Ramahlele.

”With the MEC on board, the UFS ended up dedicating its South Campus in Bloemfontein to supporting Free State schools. We now have 70 schools that benefit from live television broadcasts of lessons by some of our outstanding academics. This also enables our best academics to make a valued contribution to empowering our teachers. It also allows the university to maximise scarce resources to attain social cohesion,” he said.

In his remarks, Kagiso Trust Trustee, Dean Zwo Nevhutalu, said that Kagiso Trust was looking forward to continue working with its partners to maximise outcomes through limited resources.

“Kagiso Trust will continue to work with the poor and the marginalised and there is no better partner than the government itself. The government provides basic services, and education is one of them. This allows us to be innovative and not just dump books and equipment at schools because we are forced to by our corporate social investment obligations. Therefore, we challenge the government also to be innovative in building a sustainable future partnership model in education,” he said.

Among the dignitaries attending the panel discussion were Kagiso Trust Chairman, Dr Frank Chikane, and the late Dr Beyers Naude’s family.

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