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07 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Noko Masalesa
Noko Masalesa, Director of Protection Services, in conversation with students and stakeholders to plan a safe way forward.

Safety and security are human rights that constitute social justice. At the centre of the agenda at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Social Justice Week held on the Bloemfontein Campus from 17-22 April 2019 were discussions about off-campus safety. Stakeholders agreed on an upgrade to security measures in order to ensure the success and wellbeing of the student population.

A call to students

Prof John Mubangizi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, in his capacity as representative of the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, expressed his view on institutions of higher learning no longer functioning as ivory towers. “For any initiative to succeed, collaboration is necessary between key roleplayers,” he said.

He aptly pointed out that: “We cannot underscore the importance of safety and security, not only for the university but also for the communities around us. What the university does benefits the community and vice versa. I pledge the university’s commitment to play a leading part to ensure that the collaboration works,” said Prof Mubangizi.

Beefing up security: Who is involved?

In view of the collaborative effort Prof Mubangizi alluded to, the engagement was twofold. First was the roundtable discussion facilitated by Protection Services which then escalated into a public dialogue where students had the opportunity to interact with external delegates.

The South African Police Services, Community Police Forum, Private Security, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Provincial Commissioner, and Deputy Minister of Police were well represented in this critical conversation. Internally, members of Protection Services, Housing and Residence Affairs, Student Affairs, Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation, Student Representative Council, and the Department of Criminology heard the plight of off-campus safety faced by students.

Changes in the horizon

The discussions culminated with recommendations which will see the future of student safety take a different direction. According to Skhululekile Luwaca, former SRC president, these include “the municipality’s commitment to immediately address issues such as street lights and enforcing by-laws, ensuring an integrated accreditation system, and drafting a policy for off-campus accommodation, running more crime awareness campaigns, and giving police patrols more visibility.”

In addition to resolving to set up a student safety forum with all the stakeholders, the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has invited the UFS to join Reclaim the City – a safety forum where practical solutions to crime are devised and implemented on a weekly basis.


News Archive

Science 4Fun, collaboration between CUT and UFS community engagement
2017-08-16

 Description: Community Enagement Tags: : Nzame Primary School, Charles Busack, Global University for Lifelong Learning, Community Engagement, Science4Fun  

For Grade R learners at Nzame Primary, their
basic Geometry insight about shapes advanced
to engineering skills when they built modern pyramids,
connecting jelly sweets and sosatie sticks. 
Photo: Supplied 


Any phase in a learner’s life can be the right time to explore science. As for Grade R learners at Nzame Primary School in Mangaung, it all started when their Deputy Principal, Charles Busack, attended the Global University for Lifelong Learning (GULL) workshop coordinated by the university’s Community Engagement in October 2016. The GULL network enables its affiliated organisations to recognise the individual and collective efforts of those who are creating progressive transformation in communities and in the workplace. Consequently, a community-based initiative, Science4Fun, was developed and launched at the primary school, where learners would start to experiment with science through play.

University students instrumental in teaching
Every Tuesday morning, these fun science activities form part of the foundation phase programme, in which Dr Elizabeth Conradie of the Central University of Technology (CUT) and four postgraduate Science students from the UFS, engage teachers and learners in exciting experiments and demonstrations. 

Most people just know pyramids as big, impressive structures built a long time ago in Ancient Egypt. However, for Grade R learners at Nzame Primary, their basic Geometry insight about shapes advanced to engineering skills when they built modern pyramids, connecting jelly sweets and sosatie sticks.

Laying a foundation for the future
According to Dr Conradie, more fun exercises are lined up for curious minds, exploring other sciences such as Chemistry and Mathematics, combined with music. The initiative will assist to equip learners with the basics of Science into more advance learning phases of the schooling years, giving them an advantage.

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