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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

The challenges of local governance highlighted at the JN Boshoff Memorial lecture
2014-08-26

 

Mr Kopung Ralikontsane
Photo: Jerry Mokoroane

The annual JN Boshoff memorial lecture was hosted by the Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences in conjunction with the Department of Public Management on 21 August 2014. Mr Kopung Ralikontsane, Director-general of the Free State Provincial Government, presented the keynote address, ‘Challenges Facing Local Government in Service Delivery’.

In his opening remarks, Mr Ralikontsane gave the background of the South African municipal structures, the legal framework within which they operate and the challenges they are currently facing. He added that “local government is a sphere at the coalface of service delivery and if this sphere fails, South Africa would have failed to be a developmental state.”

He said the Free State provincial government has made great strides in developing local communities, with millions of rands invested in various development projects such as water and sanitation, electrification, roads and storm water structures, community facilities and solid waste disposal.

Local government is still faced with other challenges, though. He pointed out that public employees are subject to greater scrutiny and increased demands from citizens. As a result, they have to provide better services, but within stricter limits on resources. Conflict arises due to changing relationships between public servants and citizens, downsizing, restructuring and contracting out of government services and activities.

Despite the various structures implemented by local government, municipalities are serving an ever-growing population in an economic decline. Regulations have been put into place to devise credible Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) to improve municipal infrastructure, build competent management teams and strong operations and increase technical capacity for effective delivery of services.

Mr Ralikontsane invited students to join local government in crafting innovative solutions. “We know the problem, but we need to encourage you to join forces with your local government and tackle them.”

Mr Kopung Ralikontsane has served in local government for two decades and also serves as Head of Administration of the Free State Government and as Cabinet Secretary.


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