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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 provides sign language skills to locals
2016-02-12

Description: UFS provides sign language skills to locals  Tags: Sign language

Susan Lombaard teaching at one of the sessions
Photo: Valentino Ndaba

The public and private sectors are becoming more aware of the need for effective communication between employers, employees, and clients who use Sign Language. Given that Sign Language is the first language of approximately 600 000 people in South Africa, competence in the language means taking the first step towards more inclusive service delivery.
 
Shout Out Loud - a project that promotes Sign Language - has signed up Bloemfontein Celtics, Centlec, Beyond Boundaries, and the Mangaung Municipality on a Basic South African Sign Language course at the University of the Free State.
 
No miscommunication
 
Susan Lombaard, the Acting Head at the Department of South African Sign Language, was one of the lecturers who presented the 40-hour accredited course every Friday from 15 January-12 February 2016. Other lecturers who were responsible for training were Emily Matabane and Tshisikhawe Dzhivani.
 
Lombaard believes that learning Sign Language bridges the gap between the hearing and those who have impairments. “The benefit is that there will be no miscommunication. It happens that a deaf person walks into a bank or municipality offices and there is no communication. They need to write which is humiliating for that person.”
 
Towards a promising future
 
According to Goodwill Mokoena, Project Manager at Beyond Boundaries, the project will continue annually, and a larger intake of government departments and non-governmental organisations is expected in 2016.He also indicated that Shout Out Loud has achieved substantial success in its involvement with the Bartimea School for the Blind and Deaf.

Shout Out Loud selects one pupil every month, and flies them to Johannesburg to interpret on Bloemfontein Celtics’ magazine show. It is the only magazine show in South Africa that has a sign language interpreter. “The school has been achieving 100% in matric results because the pupils are selected on merit. This has enhanced their academic performance in such a marvelous way,” said Mokoena.

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