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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 Council approves a new Language Policy
2016-03-11

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) approved a new Language Policy with an overwhelming majority during its meeting held on the Qwaqwa Campus today (11 March 2016).

In the newly approved policy, the university commits to embed and enable a language-rich environment committed to multilingualism, with particular attention to Afrikaans, Sesotho, isiZulu, and other languages represented on the three campuses situated in Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa.

Based on the core values of inclusivity and multilingualism, the following principles in the newly approved policy were approved by the Council:

  1. English will be the primary medium of instruction at undergraduate and postgraduate level on the three campuses situated in Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa.
  2. Multilingualism will be supported among other activities by an expanded tutorial system especially designed for first-year students.
  3. In particular professional programmes such as teacher education and the training of students in Theology who wish to enter the ministry in traditional Afrikaans speaking churches, where there is clear market need, the parallel medium English-Afrikaans and Sesotho/Zulu continues. This arrangement must not undermine the values of inclusivity and diversity endorse by the UFS.
  4. The primary formal language of the university administration will be English with sufficient flexibility for the eventual practice of multilingualism across the university.
  5. Formal student life interactions would be in English, while multilingualism is encouraged in all social interactions.

“This is a major step forward for the UFS. I commend Council for their constructive and positive manner in which the discussion took place,” says Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council.

The university furthermore committed in the newly approved policy to:

  1. Ensuring that language is not a barrier to equity of access, opportunity and success in academic programmes or in access to university administration.
  2. Promoting the provision of academic literacy, especially in English, for all undergraduate students.
  3. Ensuring that language is not used or perceived as a tool for social exclusion of staff and/or students on any of its campuses.
  4. Promoting a pragmatic learning and administrative environment committed to and accommodative of linguistic diversity within the regional, national and international environments in which the UFS operates.       
  5. Contributing to the development of Sesotho and isiZulu as higher education language within the context of the needs of the university’s different campuses.
  6. The continuous development of Afrikaans as an academic language.
  7. Recognising and promoting South African Sign Language and Braille.

Today’s approval of a new policy comes after a mandate was given to the university management on 5 June 2015 by Council to conduct a review of the institutional Language Policy through a comprehensive process of consultation with all university stakeholders. A Language Committee was subsequently established by the University Management Committee (UMC) to undertake a comprehensive review of the parallel-medium policy, which was approved by Council on 6 June 2003. The committee also had to make recommendations on the way forward with respect to the university's Language Policy. During its meeting on 4 December 2015, Council adopted guidelines from the report of the Language Committee regarding the development of a new policy for the university.

The newly approved Language Policy will be phased in as from January 2017 according to an Implementation Plan.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Email: news@ufs.ac.za

Related articles:

http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6567 (26 November 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6540 (28 October 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6521 (20 October 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6469 (30 August 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6444 (25 August 2015)

 
Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27(0)51 401 2584 | +27(0)83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27(0)51 444 6393

 

 


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