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05 June 2019 | Story Ruan Bruwer
Louzanne Coetzee
Athlete Louzanne Coetzee with the trophy of the Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled as Sports Star of the Year.

Although challenging, very exciting and a new journey, says Louzanne Coetzee about the athletics year for which she has been recognised.

The 26-year-old, who is doing her master’s in Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Studies at the University of the Free State, won the Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (FSSAPD) Sports Star of the Year award for a fourth consecutive time. This was for the period June 2018 to April 2019.

In that time, she set a world record, an Africa record, and ran two marathons in which she came amazingly close to a second world record.

Only in her second marathon at the Berlin Marathon in September, the Paralympian fell 26 seconds short of the T11 (totally blind) world record time. She met the qualifying time for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo during the London Marathon in April.

“Marathons are definitely challenging and a new field for me, but I would say it has been a good 12 months. My aim is now set on next year’s Paralympic Games, where I would like to compete in the marathon and the 1 500 m.”

“I hope to run a good time in the 1 500 m at the World Para Athletics Championships in November.”

At the SASAPD National Championships for physically disabled and visually impaired athletes in April 2019, Coetzee won three gold medals and set a record in the 1 500 m. 

Others from the UFS also honoured

Coetzee has received several awards in her career, but says it is always special to be rewarded by her own federation (FSSAPD). 

Danie Breitenbach (T11) was also honoured as the Senior Male Sports Star. He bagged two gold medals and one silver and set a SA record in both the 800 m and 1 500 m at the nationals. Another Kovsie, Dineo Mokhosoa (F36 – coordination impairments), received a merit award for her gold medal in shot-put and silver in the discus at the national champs.

News Archive

A bridge to the future for school leavers
2009-03-04

 
Ms Merridy Wilson-Strydom, Research Consultant at the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development at the UFS. 
 Photo: Supplied)

Thousands of learners in the country’s high schools fail to qualify for post-school education and training. Now a unique project funded by the Ford Foundation and being piloted at the University of the Free State (UFS) seeks to provide such learners with a lifeline.

The 2008 Grade 12 results showed once again that the schooling system is – and has been for a long time – in the throes of a severe crisis. The most disturbing feature of this crisis is that the system does not produce learners with the required level of literacy, numeracy and other cognitive skills to further their education or to become part of the country’s workforce.

Clearly this situation is untenable in a developing country such as ours, facing the immense challenges of a severe skills shortage, poverty and unemployment. We cannot afford to have hundreds of thousands of young people walking the streets without any prospect of a decent living and a future of opportunity.

The UFS and partners in the Free State Higher Education Consortium (FSHEC) have devised a unique programme to help underprepared and even unprepared school-leavers who have fallen through the cracks of the school system.

“We are hoping to make a meaningful contribution to the challenging field of creating educational opportunities for post-school study and the world of work through the generous support of the Ford Foundation,” says Ms Merridy Wilson-Strydom, Research Consultant at the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development at the UFS.

“The Skills for a Changing World Programme is specifically aimed at removing barriers to educational opportunities for school-leavers who are not able to access higher education – mainstream or extended degrees. At the moment there are few, if any, meaningful opportunities for those learners who come through the school system un/underprepared,” she says.

The primary target group for the NQF Level-5 Programme is young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are currently excluded from post-schooling educational opportunities. The duration of the programme is one year.

According to Ms Wilson-Strydom, the core modules of the activity-driven curriculum are English Literacy and Language Development, Mathematical Literacy, Information and Communication Technology and Your Global Positioning System (YGPS), which focuses on study skills and critical life skills, e.g. dealing with diversity. Students will also be supported to make informed choices about their future study or career directions.

“The development of the core-module materials is almost complete and from the second semester we plan to test the programme by means of a pilot project, which will be conducted on the UFS’s South Campus in Bloemfontein,” says Ms Wilson-Strydom.

“The pilot study will involve a group of 20-50 learners who have finished Grade 12 but do not qualify for the UFS bridging programme known as the Career Preparation Programme or any other higher-education programmes,” says Ms Wilson-Strydom.

Although not yet accredited, the project team aims to have the programme accredited as a Higher Certificate and is also exploring the possibility of registering the programme as a Short Learning Programme.

“One of the challenges with access and bridging programmes in the country is that students do not obtain a formal qualification for their bridging year. Hence those who do not continue with higher-education study (or cannot continue for various reasons such as finances), do not gain the recognition they should get for what they have learnt during their bridging year.”

“Our focus on developing the Skills for a Changing World Programme as a qualification in its own right is a key innovation in the current education and training landscape,” says Ms Wilson-Strydom.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
4 March 2009
 

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