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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

Transforming lives through reading
2014-08-11

 
The UFS Library and Information Services visited Lekhulong Senior Secondary School as one of their community development projects commemorating Mandela Day on 25 June 2014. Situated in the Bloemfontein township of Rocklands, the school’s library was depleted of books and in need of a total revamp. The group of change agents under the guidance and leadership of Marcus Maphile, Assistant Director: Information Services, consisted of seventeen library staff members, library ambassadors and volunteers from Student Life and Leadership.

A total of 450 books were donated to the school. The range of books was made up of mainly dictionaries and encyclopaedias. Fifty of these copies were acquired through the ‘Buy or Donate a Book’ campaign run by the library earlier this year.

In thanking the UFS library, the school’s principal, Mash Mawasha said reading has always been a challenge for his learners and that he is confident that this will be a major turning point for them.

The Director of Library Services, Betsy Eister, expressed the UFS library’s commitment to this project. She pledged regular visits to the school to ensure that Lekhulong library staff are trained on how to run the library and that teachers include library books in their teaching.

“We try to ensure that by the time learners arrive at universities,” Maphile said, “they have exposure to libraries, that they acquire a love for reading books and most importantly have confidence not only to express themselves but to use the library system efficiently.”

The book donation programme has been running successfully for two years and apart from revitalising school libraries in disadvantaged communities, the UFS library staff provides training and support to teacher librarians. Next year, the team plans to extend their project to another community in Bloemfontein – that of Headstart High School.


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