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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 at the forefront of college lecturer training
2010-12-08

Prof. Jonathan Jansen (Vice-Chancellor and Rector, UFS), Butah Makgalemele (FET lecturer), Prof. Dennis Francis (Dean, Faculty of Education), Prof. Daniella Manning-Coetzee (Director: CED), Felicity Skully (EDTP-SETA, sponsors), Thantshi Masitara (SACCI) and Erica Odendaal (VEOP project coordinator) during the launch of the VEOP at the UFS South Campus.
Photo: Christiaan van der Merwe

The Centre for Educational Development (CED, which will be known as the School for Continuous Education from 2011) of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently launched its special new programme for the furthering of the education of college teachers. The Vocational Education Orientation Programme (VEOP) is geared towards improving the teaching qualifications of Further Education and Training (FET) College lectures.

The programme focuses primarily on college lecturers without professional teaching qualifications, in a sector of the education system that has been long neglected according to Prof. Daniella Manning-Coetzee, Head of the CED.

This is all said to change with the implementation of the VEOP. The CED has already established training centres in Bloemfontein, Qwaqwa, Kroonstad, Thaba N’chu and Sasolburg, serving a total number of 240 lecturers. Topics specifically related to the FET College sector which these lecturers will be schooled in, include teaching methodology, assessment, workplace learning, FET College policy and planning, and action research.

The VEOP was developed by a national task team and reference group representing both universities and FET Colleges, and will be a 30-credit programme counting towards the 120-credit Vocational Education Certificate which is currently under development. 

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