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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

UFS awarded tenders worth R22,5 million for Maths and Science teacher-training
2010-03-17

The Centre for Education Development (CED) at the University of the Free State (UFS) has received tenders worth about R22,5 million over the past two years from four provinces to train Mathematics and Science teachers from underperforming schools.

The CED has received tenders from the following provincial departments of education: Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga.

“The centre has a good reputation for the training of teachers in these disciplines and has been involved with the upgrading of Maths and Science teachers for at least 15 years,” said Prof. Daniella Coetzee, Director of the CED.

It is currently busy with the training of North West teachers after being awarded a R13,5 million tender by the Province as part of its quest to improve pass rates in Mathematics and Natural and Physical Sciences in underperforming schools.

“The tender is for the upgrading of the knowledge and methodology of teachers for Mathematics and Natural and Physical Science, as well as the upgrading of the knowledge of subject specialists in the North West Province,” said Prof. Coetzee.

For this project the centre trains 1 000 teachers and 90 subject specialists from underperforming schools over a period of three years.

The programme commenced in February this year with a baseline assessment of the teachers to determine knowledge and methodology gaps upon which to focus in the training.

“After the programme has been completed we will also do a post-assessment to see if there had been progress,” she said.

The training is offered only on Saturdays at Vryburg, Klerksdorp, Makapanstad, Brits and Zeerust and is presented by lecturers from the CED as well as selected and trained tutors from the North West province.

“We have successfully completed another Maths, Science and Technology project for the North West Department of Education. We have also completed similar projects for the Northern Cape and one for the Free State Department of Education,” she said.

These completed projects entailed formal qualifications (Advanced Certificate in Education) in Maths, Science and Technology and were worth in excess of R5 million.

The CED has just been recently awarded yet another tender in excess of R4 million over a period of two years by the Mpumalanga Department of Education.

Prof. Coetzee had the following to say about the CED being the preferred choice of these provincial Departments of Education: “It has to do with the fact that the CED has been performing well with the upgrading of teachers. It has proven itself as a leader in the in-service training of Maths and Science teachers in South Africa.”

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
17 March 2010

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