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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

"Participation without insight leads to pronouncements without prospects"
2004-08-30

Taking the poor off the streets and encouraging their participation in the planning process is not always empowering them but it might be robbing them of their power, said Prof Das Steyn, of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Speaking on public participation in the planning process during his inaugural lecture, Prof Steyn said this meant that people in the streets sometimes have more power than people in the system.

“Public participation is an overgeneralization that is often defined as providing citizens with opportunities to take part in governmental decisions and planning processes. But there must be a balance between power and responsibility,” he said.

According to Prof. Steyn, public participation in town planning plays a vital role and can be both deliberation and participation.

After 1994 there was a widespread insistence on democracy, and legislation passed since then was based on the belief that the community must be involved in the planning process.

He said the experience of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the UFS was that in some cases people showed lack of interest in public participation.

He believed that the aim of public participation is to improve the effectiveness of planning and that public participation democratises project planning.

“Public participation can help us know how the public feels about certain issues. It has the potential of resolving a conflict, but this is not guaranteed,” Prof Steyn said.

 

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