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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 welcomes unanimous judgement about its Language Policy in the Supreme Court of Appeal
2017-03-28

The University of the Free State (UFS) is pleased with the unanimous judgment handed down in the Supreme Court of Appeal this morning, in which the application from AfriForum and Solidarity to review and set aside the decision by the UFS Council to adopt a new Language Policy was dismissed.
 
The court accordingly directed that AfriForum and Solidarity pay the legal costs of the UFS, which include the costs of two Counsel. This is the second time that the two applicants were ordered to pay the university’s legal costs.
 
The UFS further welcomes the decision by the Full Bench that the Free State High Court made a mistake last year by indicating that the UFS Council made an irrational decision when it approved the new Language Policy on 11 March 2016.
 
“Today’s decision is a milestone in the history of the University of the Free State and underlines the importance of the decision made by the Council last year. The decision comes with a responsibility, as we now have to ensure that all our students can become part of the global community of scholars by providing them with the necessary support. We also have to make our staff and students understand the implication of the court’s decision,” said Prof Nicky Morgan, acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.
 
The effect of today’s judgment is that the UFS may proceed to implement the new Language Policy according to its Implementation Plan. The new policy entails English as primary medium of instruction, but with the introduction of a tutorial system in Afrikaans and progressively in Sesotho to support students’ learning in their first and second year of study.
 
The policy has been piloted since January 2017 with first-year students in three faculties: Law, Health Sciences, and the Humanities. In these faculties, the majority of students indicated their preference to be taught in English. The Afrikaans-English policy will be maintained in the rest of the faculties in 2017 and phased out according to an implementation plan as from 2018.
 
Current registered students are able to complete their studies in the language they selected upon registration.

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

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