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29 March 2019 | Story Lacea Loader

No deregistration of students at the University of the Free State (UFS) will be effected until after the Financial Appeals Committee has concluded its process on 5 April 2019.

During a meeting between the university management and the Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) today, the following agreement was reached:

  1. The date for the submission of appeals has been extended to Tuesday 2 April 2019 at 12:00. No further extension will be given. The application form for the Financial Appeals Committee has previously been sent to the ufs4life email addresses of all provisionally registered students.
  2. Students who have appealed their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) outcomes will not be deregistered while awaiting the result of the outcome of their appeal.
  3. Verified final-year students who are provisionally registered will not be deregistered. This will be subject to verification by the Financial Appeals Committee. These students must also submit an appeal.
  4. All other categories of students must submit their appeals to the Financial Appeals Committee.

NB: The documentation mentioned above must be submitted to the Student Finance Office as indicated on the financial appeals form sent to students via their ufs4life email address.

The UFS has taken a pro-poor approach to assist students who are academically deserving. With this approach, the university’s fee structure is much less than that of many public institutions of higher learning in the country. Senior students are also supported through a provisional registration process that grants them the opportunity to pay a reduced amount in order to register, enabling them to fully participate in all activities while extension is provided to secure the necessary funding for their studies.

The university has made a number of concessions to ensure that students are not financially excluded during the 2019 academic year. Many of these concessions were raised by the ISRC on behalf of students and was agreed upon by the university management.  

These concessions include:

  1. Students who have confirmed NSFAS funding for 2019 with historic debt, are to secure registration. This has taken place before the announcement on 24 March 2019 by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor, that the historic debt of NSFAS students will be settled by the department.

     

  2. Students in the missing middle who received a gap grant in 2018, have been assisted to pay a lesser amount to register fully for 2019.

     

  3. Students with historic debt who are not receiving the gap grant have also been assisted to register for 2019. Acceptable payment plans for these students have been agreed upon with the university’s Student Finance Office.

     

  4. First-time entering students were assisted with a reduced first payment to enable them to register for 2019.

     

  5. Final-year students with historic debt of less than R20 000 who could not have been assisted in any of the above concessions explained above were allowed to register.

     

  6. Students who are provisionally registered and who could not find the necessary financial means, had the opportunity to submit appeals to the Financial Appeals Committee by 29 March 2019 to secure their registration. This committee comprises representatives of the university management, as well as members of the ISRC. This committee is scheduled to meet on 5 April 2019.

The above is evidence of the multi-layered efforts by the university to support academic deserving students as far as it is practically possible in order to avoid financial exclusion. Additionally, the university’s Student Finance Office has since the beginning of the academic year communicated extensively on the process with students who are at risk of being deregistered.  

Historically, less than 0,5% of registered students at the UFS are not able to find the necessary means to secure their registration.

To support students in their academic efforts, all matters pertaining to registration should be concluded by the end of the first term. A cut-off date is set by which all registration processes – including concessions – are to be concluded. This date – 31 March 2019 – has already been set in 2018, which is the result of consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including the IRSC.

This cut-off date has now been extended to Tuesday 2 April 2019 at 12:00.

Released by:

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



News Archive

UFS researchers help find opportunities to create knowledge
2016-09-15

Description: Mobile libraries  Tags: Mobile libraries

The initiative hopes that the mobile libraries
will continue to contribute towards literature
awareness and access to books at rural
schools in the Free State.
Photo: Supplied

Did you know that only 3 392 primary schools in South Africa have libraries? In the Free State the statistics are shocking. Only 277 primary schools have libraries, while 1 087 carry on without them. One of nine provinces in South Africa, the Free State is regarded as a rural province. The South African Primary Education Support Initiative (SAPESI), in partnership with other sponsors, has committed to expanding access to books by donating mobile libraries to service schools across South Africa. In the Free State, the project is embraced by the Free State Department of Education, which employs the mobile operators and library assistants to service these libraries, driving many kilometres of gravel road to visit remote farm schools and other under-resourced schools. SAPESI has set a goal to supply 75 mobile libraries to provide 2 000 schools with access to books by the year 2020.

Discovering the value of the mobile libraries
Although the mobile libraries in the Free State have been functioning since 2007, no formal research had been conducted on their work. Towards the end of 2014, the Free State Department of Education and the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB) commissioned the UFS to carry out a participatory action research project. Dr Lynette Jacobs, Head of the School of Education Studies at the University of the Free State’s Faculty of Education and her team engaged with role-players at district and provincial level in a Participatory Action Research project.

The research project aimed to describe the work that mobile libraries do, and appraise its influence on learners and schools, towards improving their functionality. In addition, this project aimed to build research capacity within the district teacher development centres.

Highlights of the mobile library project
The way the Free State Department of Education embraced and supported the initiative by Mr Tad Hasunuma and SAPESI, was inspiring. Each of the five education districts has two fully equipped library buses that periodically visit schools. The stock on the buses is regularly replaced by books that SAPESI receives from the international community. Specific books are also loaded for teachers to use as resources. One of the outcomes of the research project was that guidelines were developed for teachers on how to use books in addition to curriculum material in the classroom. At district level, the teams reflected on the work that they were doing and implemented improvement plans to provide an even better service. Findings of the project were presented at the XIV Annual International Conference of the Bulgarian Comparative Education Society that focused on education provision earlier this year. It was lauded by representatives of the international education community as an example of good practice to provide education to marginalised children.

Reading helps enrich children’s lives
The research project concluded by stating that the aim of the mobile libraries was to provide learners and teachers at rural and farm schools with reading books, and they were doing as best they could. While the mobile libraries cannot make up for possible challenges related to teaching and learning or in infrastructure, the learners and the teachers are regularly provided with good resources to encourage reading and stimulate literacy development.

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