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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 book on ‘Reitz’ still not closed
2016-08-12

Description: IRSJ book  Tags: IRSJ book

Prof André Keet, Director: Institute for Reconciliation and
Social Justice (IRSJ) with the authors of Transformation
and Legitimation in Post-apartheid Universities: Reading
Discourses from ‘Reitz’,
JC van der Merwe and
Dionne van Reenen.

A new IRSJ book tackles issues of transformation.

Transformation and Legitimation in Post-apartheid Universities: Reading Discourses from ‘Reitz’ is the first in a series on critical studies in higher education transformation from the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ). In his introduction to this series, Prof André Keet, Director: Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ), highlights why a scholarly work of this nature was necessary: “Acts of resistance against structurally-anchored forms of exclusion within universities in both South Africa and elsewhere suggest that, despite our best efforts, the social structure of the academy … has remained more or less intact over the past several decades.” The book was recently launched during the fifth anniversary reflections of the IRSJ.

Transformation and Legitimation in Post-apartheid Universities: Reading Discourses from ‘Reitz’ explores and expands on the landmark “Reitz” incident. The authors, JC van der Merwe, Deputy-Director at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ) and Dionne van Reenen, researcher and PhD candidate at the IRSJ, offer insights on how this incident and the events surrounding it represent a recurring pattern that continues to underpin many processes in post-apartheid South Africa.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Chair of the Advisory Board of the IRSJ, and Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, says of the authors: “The courage of their convictions is reflected in this book. They have played, and will continue to play, an amazing role in shaping the discourse around transformation.”

Jamie Turkington, former editor of the IRAWA Post during the time of the ‘Reitz’ incident and facilitator during the five-year anniversary function, says: “This book will be beneficial for every student and every person involved in the University of the Free State since 1980 till now to read and absorb the valuable points therein. If you thought Reitz was over, it shouldn’t be; it is as relevant today as ever.”

"If you thought Reitz was over..."

Turkington adds that the book will serve as a “worthwhile conversation starter at UFS”, raising such questions as:
• How much legitimacy was the UFS able to acquire internally, within the university community, as well as in society at large?
• How do we chart a way forward from here?
• How do we keep the progress going?

As the book itself says: “Reitz serves as a reminder to higher education practitioners that our humanity is fragile in terms of who we are and what we can achieve. Transformation and legitimation, and the way higher education institutions handle these going forward, promises to be seminal in the foreseeable future of the sector.”

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