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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

Teacher professionalism and status under Commonwealth radar
2010-03-26

 
From the left are: Ms Simone De Cormarmond, Chairperson: Commonwealth Foundation; Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, University of the Free State (UFS); Mr Samuel Isaacs, CEO: SAQA; and Dr Carol Anne Spreen, Lecturer at the University of Maryland, USA).
Photo: Ian van Straaten


International delegates attending the 5th Annual Commonwealth Teacher Research Symposium held at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein this week unanimously agreed that more research still had to be done on issues of recognition, registration and standards affecting teachers and teaching across Commonwealth countries.

This two-day gathering of researchers, officials and representatives of regional international organisations and higher education institutions agreed that issues of teacher migration, the professionalism of teachers, teacher preparation and the use of teaching standards, as well as the comparability and recognition of teacher qualifications should be further researched.

The delegates agreed on the following based on the research and data that were presented and shared with all the participants:

Teacher migration is recognised as an increasing global phenomenon that requires ongoing research in the Commonwealth.
Recognising that inequalities and differences within and across Commonwealth countries exist, and considering that fair and ethical treatment in the international recruitment of teachers is an important cornerstone of the Commonwealth Teacher Recruitment Protocol.

Teacher training, the recognition of teacher qualifications, the professional registration of teachers and the development of professional teacher standards should be actively encouraged through ongoing pan-Commonwealth research.

An increased acknowledgement of the role of the professionalisation of teachers through an improved understanding of teacher qualifications and standards.
There should be a specific research focus on teacher preparation and the use of teaching standards.

An increased comparability and recognition of teacher qualifications across Commonwealth countries should be actively encouraged.
Advocacy of teachers’ rights, effective protection of the vulnerable teacher, and appropriate strategies should be promoted to uplift the status of teachers and teaching as a profession.

The Commonwealth Teacher Recruitment Protocol, amongst other things, aims to balance the rights of teachers to migrate internationally against the need to protect the integrity of national education systems, and to prevent the exploitation of the scarce human resources of poor countries.

Delivering his keynote address at the symposium, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, decried the quality of professional qualifications in South Africa.

“We have become very good at manufacturing outcomes. We actually have become very good at giving an impression of having achieved particular outcomes without having achieved them at all,” he said.
“So what does it mean to talk about outcomes in an unequal country with unequal resources? What does it mean to talk about qualifications when we do not trust the outcomes?”

He suggested that the teaching profession should be subjected to a peer review mechanism and that the practice of setting minimum standards should be dealt away with because it results in minimum outcomes.

Dr Carol Anne Spreen, lecturer at the University of Maryland in the USA, proposed that countries should improve the quality of their own teachers instead of importing teachers from other countries.

The research symposium was organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and hosted by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the UFS.

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

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