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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.



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Students attend prestigious National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme
2014-08-22


From the left are: Thokozane Ngcongwane with Mbali Xaba and Thabo Kumalo (both third-year Physics and Chemistry students).

Three students from our Qwaqwa Campus – Thokozane Ngcongwane, Mbali Xaba and Thabo Kumalo – were recently selected to attend the prestigious National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP). The programme – in partnership with the National Research Foundation (NRF) – ran for two weeks at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town.

The project targets students from formerly disadvantaged institutions of higher learning, where astronomy and astrophysics are not offered.

Students are invited to apply for the programme, with emphasis placed on students majoring in mathematics and physics. Students from other fields are also invited to apply, though. The programme allows for the development of black astronomers and astrophysicists, which are in demand in the ever-growing environment of astronomy in South Africa.

“Topics such as gravitational lenses, black holes, stellar evolution and the mysteries of cosmology were presented and students were invited to engage with the speakers during and after the presentations,” said Ngcongwane, a third-year Zoology and Entomology student.

The programme challenged them to work on basic astrophysical concepts in groups while individual written assignments were part of the learning process as well.

“Given the lack of information about the complexities of astronomy the students had, this was the most ideal time to learn about all matters astronomy and astrophysics as lectures offered a lot to young and excited minds,” Ngcongwane said.

 

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