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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 congratulates Free State on matric results
2017-01-05

 Description: 002 IBP Matric results Tags: 002 IBP Matric results

With projects like the Internet Broadcast Project and the
Schools Partnership Projects the UFS helps to improve
education at schools in the Free State.
Photo: iStock

The University of the Free State (UFS) congratulates the Free State and its learners on their outstanding performance in the 2016 matric results. The university, who also plays a role in promoting excellence at school level, is proud of the Free State’s achievement as the best-performing province in the country with a 93,2% pass rate, excluding progressed learners.

“On behalf of the university community I would like to congratulate the Free State MEC of Education, Tate Makgoe, who is also a member of the UFS Council, and the Department of Education in the province on this fine achievement. The UFS is proud to be involved in projects that contribute to the success of the province’s learners. These include the Internet Broadcast Project (IBP) and the Schools Partnership Projects (SPP). The projects help to improve the quality of teaching and help learners to overcome severe domestic conditions in rural areas,” says Prof Nicky Morgan, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.

Internet Broadcast Project

The UFS IDEAS Lab in the Department of Open and Distance Learning on the UFS South Campus supports learners in 83 schools through the IBP with the help of academic videos. The project is a collaboration between the university and the Department of Education in the province. It includes support for subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Science, Economics, Accounting, and Geography.

A purpose-built school appliance, comprising a projector, speakers, and a PC, is set up at each school, where learners receive video lectures from highly-qualified teachers.

During a function held in Bloemfontein on 5 January 2017 to congratulate performing schools in the province, Mr Makgoe made special mention of the IBP and said that part of the success of the province can be attributed to the project. Many of the top performing schools had learners who participated in the project. One of the districts that forms part of the project, the Xhariep District, was announced as the top performing district in the province, and is second in the country.


Schools Partnership Projects

The SPP focuses on teachers in order to have a more sustainable impact, with 69 schools in the Free State and Eastern Cape being part of it.

It makes use of mentors (30) who assist teachers and headmasters with school management, Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting, and English as language of learning. The project has an annual budget of more than R15 million – all the funds come from sponsors outside the UFS.

Mentors visit schools and share knowledge, extra material, and technology to improve the standard of teaching. The change has been significant. Matric results and Bachelors pass rates have improved dramatically in these schools.

Another aspect is the identification of learners with potential (so-called first-generation students) to go to university. They are assisted through extra classes and in applying for tertiary education and bursaries.

Many of them currently study at the UFS, and also receive mentorship at university.

Dr Peet Venter, SPP Project Manager, said his team is proud to be part of the process of helping the Free State to become the number one province in the country again.

Both the IBP and SPP was started in 2011 and are managed from the university’s South Campus in Bloemfontein.

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