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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

Message of appreciation from the UFS acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector: Prof Nicky Morgan
2017-01-04

Dear Colleagues, Students, Parents/Guardians, Alumni, and Friends of the university

The University of the Free State (UFS) successfully completed the 2016 academic year, with the official examination ending on 14 December 2016.  We have also completed the last of our graduation ceremonies, and are now preparing to accommodate the additional and ad hoc examinations in the coming weeks.
 
This comes after the university has successfully readjusted its academic programme in October 2016, subsequent to the disruption of activities and programmes for almost a month. All of this could not have happened without the extraordinary support and dedication of the staff and majority of the students at the UFS.
 
I would like to thank all our staff, parents/guardians, alumni, and friends of the UFS for the role they played during these challenging months in order to ensure that we could end the academic year successfully. If it was not for your understanding and uncompromising support, we would not have been able to complete the curricula, continue with the exams, and end the year in this way.
 
However, we all know that this was not an easy task. The sheer dedication and drive of our academic staff to adapt the mode of teaching and assessment of modules must be applauded, as it took courage and perseverance. Not only did they manage to complete the curricula, they also managed to do the assessment almost completely online. The incredible role of our administrative and support staff – including our security personnel – should also be acknowledged with deep appreciation.
 
This has been a learning experience for all, which has provided us with a solid base for academic recovery in the future.
 
During its quarterly meeting on 2 December 2016, the UFS Council expressed appreciation to all staff, students, and the university management for the successful completion of the 2016 academic year.
 
To all our alumni and donors who continued to support the UFS this year – thank you for your commitment, loyalty, and continued contribution.
 
Looking forward to 2017
The UFS announced on 7 December 2016 that it will be increasing tuition and housing and residence fees for 2017 by 8%. The approved increase in fees is in line with the recommendations by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, on 19 September 2016. The increases were approved by the UFS Council on 2 December 2016, with the understanding that it would be paid by the Department of Higher Education and Training by means of the fee adjustment grant for qualifying students with a combined family income of not more than R600 000 per annum.

The university management is aware of the economic realities in South Africa, as well as the financial pressure households are experiencing. The long-term financial sustainability of the UFS, as well as the financial constraints which impact teaching and learning, research, and community service, continues to remain of utmost importance to the Council and to the senior leadership of the UFS.
 
The university management stated its pro-poor approach to student funding on several occasions; that academically deserving students from poor and working class families should receive substantial financial support. For this reason – also because it does not place a burden on poor and working-class families – an increase in tuition fees aligned with the DHET proposal was submitted to Council for approval. The presidents of the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campus Student Representative Councils were present and participated in the discussion on fees – also when Council approved the increase.
 
I am thankful to report that more applications for admission were received for 2017 (42 568) in comparison to 2016 (29 284), and we are excited to welcome first-year students to our campuses in January 2017. See 2017 calendar of events and information.
 
The necessary safety measures have been taken and contingency plans are in place when students return in 2017. The university management will continue to work with the South African Police Service to ensure stability on the campuses and the uninterrupted continuance of the Academic Project.
 
In conclusion, I would like to wish you a restful and safe Festive Season. Thank you once again for your crucial role in making the University of the Free State still one of the universities of choice in the country.
 
Best regards
 
Prof Nicky Morgan
Acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector
University of the Free State

 

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