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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

Spanish academic discuss frameworks for successful higher education
2013-08-29

Prof Melanie Walker, Senior Research Professor at CHECaR, Prof Sandra Boni and Dr Sonja Loots, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the CHECaR seminar.
29 August 2013
Photo: Thabo Motsoane

In the latest Centre for Higher Education and Capabilities Research (CHECaR) seminar, Prof Sandra Boni from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain presented on ‘Competencies in Higher Education: A Critical Analysis from the Capabilities Approach.’ The presentation focused on the significant transformation taking place in universities and how that is affecting teaching and learning practices. The competencies approach plays a key role in this transformation process by associating the mastering of certain skills with successful completion of higher education qualifications.

Prof Boni and her colleagues argue that the competencies approach is flawed and too narrow to be used in evaluating successful higher education and that a broader human development perspective has to be applied. She argues that the capabilities approach represents a more inclusive framework for guiding the holistic development of students through the expansion of all human choices to achieve what they value most, not just to benefit economically from education. The inclusion of the human development framework in universities’ training would lead to generating ‘public-good professionals’ who are equipped prepared with the necessary competencies to enter their chosen career – but who will also be the bearers of a social consciousness.

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