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03 April 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Vhugala Nthakheni
Uhuru Qwaqwa Arrival
The #UFSWalkToUhuru team arrives at the UFS Qwaqwa Campus on Friday 22 March.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Division of Student Affairs, in collaboration with the UFS Office for International Affairs, have joined hands to drive a fundraising and student-accessibility initiative dubbed, ‘The Walk to Uhuru’ (#UFSWalktoUhuru), which is aimed at raising funds and advocating for the educational rights of the less privileged. 

The project aims to raise funds in excess of R2 million from the public and stakeholders affiliated with the UFS (Kovsie staff and students). The project derives from the 2018/2019 UFS Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) mandate ‘Students Must Graduate’. The ISRC mandate aims to source funding opportunities for UFS students to register, and to complete their studies across all three campuses in 2020 and beyond.

The first leg of the project, a 350 km walk from the Bloemfontein to the Qwaqwa Campus, has already taken place and concluded on Friday, 22 March 2019 as planned. The #UFSWalkToUhuru team successfully completed the first leg of their journey to academic freedom for financially disadvantaged students at the UFS. The Uhuru team is now focusing its attention on the second leg and is determined to take on Mount Kilimanjaro (Uhuru) from 20 June to 20 July 2019.

The team sat down for a debriefing session to unpack the overall experience and result of the first half of the initiative, and they all agreed that the walk to Qwaqwa was an enlightening experience. It was a walk that comprised learning opportunities, team building, and goal crushing.

According to Rethabile Motseki, member of the #UFSWalkToUhuru team, the walk to Qwaqwa made a significant impact on the project, as the university community is now aware of the significant goals that the team is trying to accomplish. The team has also resumed their fitness-training programme to ensure that they are ready to take on the Uhuru climb in June.

A media briefing will take place shortly (date to be confirmed) to detail the ongoing fundraising initiatives rolled out by the #UFSWalkToUhuru team.  We implore you, and the nation as a whole, to help establish a better future for disadvantaged UFS students by donating to the initiative.

Students, staff, and the public can support the cause and make contributions/donations to the initiative by visiting the UFS Walk to Uhuru #givengain account page.

For more information, contact UFS SRC President, Sonwabile Dwaba, on DwabaSJ@ufs.ac.za  or Rethabile Motseki on MotsekiR@ufs.ac.za  

News Archive

CTL experiments with mobile technology in teaching and learning
2016-05-23

Description: CTL experiments with mobile technology  Tags: CTL experiments with mobile technology

On the left is Nokukhanya Nkosi, Researcher and Project manager at the Centre for Teaching and Learning presenting Annah Nggoepe her brand new laptop as part of the project which assesses the impact of personal mobile devices on teaching and learning.
Photo: Supplied

Video clip

Same curriculum. Add technology. Wait and see what happens. This research project which is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) seeks to understand the impact of personal mobile devices (PMD) in teaching and learning.

The University of the Free State (UFS), in conjunction with the University of Cape Town, the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Johannesburg, and Sol Plaatje University, was approached by the DHET to spearhead this national collaborative project. Investigating whether the financial investment of a PMD on either the part of a university or of students adds value to the teaching and learning experience is the overall objective of the project.

Contemporary education
The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the UFS have been taking an active part in the project since 2015, focusing specifically on the use of personal mobile devices in teaching and learning by both staff and students.

At the student level, the study will focus specifically on not just the obstacles that first-generation students face in terms of using technology in teaching and learning, but how institutions can support these students through access to these devices.  “In 2015, the CTL conducted the Digital Identity Study of students which highlighted the view that students at the UFS deemed laptops to be the most important PMD in their studies,” said Nokukhanya Nkosi, Researcher and Project manager at the CTL.   

In April 2016, thirty students were presented with laptops funded by the project grant. For the next two years, the CTL will assess whether these laptops enable greater flexibility and effectiveness of teaching and learning, both inside and out of the classroom for these students.  

Rise of the digital classroom
Annah Ngoepe, a second-year Geography and Environmental Management student taking part in this study, commends the shift from using only textbooks in the past to incorporating technology. “The laptop has the latest applications and programmes, which are convenient for me as a student, because they help in my learning. I can also download textbooks, get summaries of the textbooks, and even other people’s views on a particular subject online.”

Tiana van der Merwe, Deputy Director at the CTL, anticipates that, after two years, the Centre would be able to make not only institutional recommendations, but also recommendations to the National Department of Higher Education.

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