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19 March 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Thabo Kessah
Thokozile Thulo
Thokozile Thulo says the UFS has changed its focus in supporting students with disabilities.

The Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has recently opened a permanent office on the Qwaqwa Campus The centre aims to ensure that the University of the Free State increasingly becomes a universally accessible higher-education institution which embraces students with various disabilities.

Thokozile Thulo, CUADS Assistant Officer at Qwaqwa said: “Our focus has changed from ‘special’ accommodation for individuals to the creation of a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering to all students. Integrated learning and education methodologies and processes are being researched and developed to create more awareness among lecturing staff. This incorporates universal design, faculty instruction and curricula.” 

The CUADS office assists students to gain access to study courses, learning materials, various buildings and residences, computer facilities and specialised exams and tests. For visually-impaired students, study material and textbooks in Braille, audio, e-text or enlarged format are provided. 

The office also supports students with various psychosocial and chronic conditions such as epilepsy and panic disorder, as well as learning difficulties such as dyslexia and hyperactivity. “In addition, we support students with special arrangements such as extra time for tests and exams,” said Thokozile.



News Archive

Transformation in higher education discussed at colloquium
2013-05-16

16 May 2013

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The University of the Free State hosted the Higher Education Transformation Colloquium earlier this month on the Bloemfontein Campus.

On Monday 6 May 2013 till Wednesday 8 May 2013 the event brought together a wide range of stakeholders, including some members of university councils; vice-chancellors; academics and researchers; leaders of student formations and presidents of student representative councils; transformation managers; executive directors with responsibility for transformation in various universities, members of the newly established Transformation Oversight Committee and senior representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training.

The event examined and debated some of the latest research studies and practices on the topic, as well as selected case studies from a number of public universities in South Africa.

Delivering a presentation at the colloquium, Dr Lis Lange, Senior Director of the Directorate for Institutional Research and Academic Planning at the UFS, said transformation in South Africa has been oversimplified and reduced to numbers, and the factors that might accelerate or slow the process have not been taken into account.

Dr Lange was delivering a paper, titled: The knowledge(s) of transformation: an archaeological perspective.

Dr Lange argued that “in the process of translating evolving political arguments into policy making, the intellectual, political and moral elements that shaped the conceptualisation of transformation in the early 1990s in South Africa, were reduced and oversimplified.”

She said crucial aspects of this reduction were the elimination of paradox and contradiction in the concept; the establishment of one accepted register of what transformation was and it is becoming sector-specific or socially blind. This means that the process was narrowed down in the policy texts and in the corresponding implementation strategies to the transformation of higher education, the schools system, the judiciary and the media, without keeping an eye on the structural conditions that can influence it in one way or another.

Dr Lange said the need for accountability further helped with reduction of transformation. “Because government and social institutions are accountable for their promises, transformation had to be measured and demonstrated.”

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