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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

State of our campuses: Impact of non-completion of the 2016 academic year on UFS students
2016-10-08

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

Impact of non-completion of the 2016 academic year

The University of the Free State (UFS) reiterates its support and commitment to the cause of free higher education. We have stated our position in all the available spaces. We want to work with UFS students to put pressure on the government to commit itself to accept the many suggestions put forward to make free education possible within a negotiated timeframe.

We are also seriously committed to our responsibility of providing education to all students enrolled at the university. We are doing our outmost to ensure that we can resume academic activities next week.

Description: " Academic non-completion 2016 Tags: " Academic non-completion 2016

We want to bring to your attention what will happen to individual students if the UFS cannot resume classes fully on Monday 10 October 2016.

Currently we have extended the academic year by one week. Some faculties are working on Saturdays and Sundays, starting earlier and finishing later to complete the material that needs to be taught and the practical work that students need to do to be able to write exams.

In the three biggest faculties at the university: Education, the Humanities, and Natural Sciences, this is what will happen:

  • Education will fail to graduate 1 193 students
  • Humanities will fail to graduate 1 125 students
  • Natural and Agricultural Sciences will fail to graduate 1 390 students

In the professional faculties: Economic and Management Sciences, Health Sciences, and Law, this will happen:

  • Economic and Management Sciences will fail to graduate 997 students
  • Health Sciences will fail to graduate 633 students
  • Law will fail to graduate 619 students

In total, approximately 6 000 students will not receive complete transcripts of their degrees and the certificates for their qualifications.

The university currently has 3 238 students on NSFAS bursaries. None of these students will be able to apply for bursaries for the lost year. They will be regarded as having failed or not completed their courses. They will not only miss this year, but the opportunity of studying in the future.

These students come from families to which their success in higher education was supposed to mean a change in the future of the entire family. Some parents/guardians hold more than one job to be able to pay tuition fees.

In not allowing the year to continue and students to finish, we are throwing away the efforts that entire families of poor people have made for four or five years to put their children through university. The promise of free education for future generations means nothing to these families who are poor in the present.

In terms of the academic calendar, it is a false argument to say that universities will be able to enrol first-years, because what 2016 students will miss, is the second semester.

We do not have the capacity to teach double the number of students in the second semester. This also misses the point that those students who were completing modules in order to graduate, will waste an entire year (assuming they have funding) to complete their degrees. This argument does not see the knock-on effect that students, not promoting in modules from first to second and second to third year, etc., will have. Finally, this also misses the point of what will happen to students who have to repeat first-semester modules.

In terms of academic staff, students are discounting the willingness of academic staff to teach double or to have the academic year extended by approximately six weeks between teaching and examinations. The same can be said for all the administrative and support staff required for running the university.

In our case, all the students in the University Preparation Programme (UPP) on the South Campus in Bloemfontein will be stuck without being able to move into mainstream modules, preventing a new intake of UPP students for 2017. These are the poorest and most disadvantaged students at the UFS.

It is absolutely necessary to find a means of protest and political action that will not jeopardise the future of current students and the country’s desperate need for critical skills.  The interdict against violent protest secured by the UFS is still in force. The police will intervene if the interdict is not respected and the UFS will have no control over police actions.

We trust that parents/guardians and students understand the implications of the situation.

Kind regards,

Prof Nicky Morgan
Acting Rector
University of the Free State

 

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393


State of our campuses #11: Academic activities on UFS campuses continue

State of our campuses #10: Impact of non-completion of the 2016 academic year on UFS students 

State of our campuses #9: Academic programme on all UFS campuses to resume on Monday 10 October 2016

State of our campuses #8:  UFS extends vacation as from 28 September until 7 October 2016, 28 September 2016

State of our campuses #7: All three UFS campuses will be closed today, 27 September 2016.

State of our campuses #6: All UFS campuses reopen on Tuesday 27 September 2016

State of our campuses #5: UFS campuses to remain closed on Monday 26 September 2016

State of our campuses #4: Decisions about the UFS academic calendar

State of our campuses #3: UFS campuses closed until Friday 23 September 2016 

State of our campuses #2: UFS Bloemfontein and South Campuses closed on Tuesday 20 September 2016 (19 September 2016)

State of our campuses #1: Academic activities suspended on UFS Bloemfontein Campus (19 September 2016)

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