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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

School of Open Learning opens at our South Campus
2011-08-23

 

Prof Daniella Coetzee, Dean of the School of Open Learning at our South Campus

The University of the Free State (UFS) established a School of Open Learning at the South Campus in Bloemfontein. The activities of the new school are driven by a central principle: opening up access to those who have not had the opportunity to study at a higher-education institution because of geographical location, socio-economic circumstances or other factors. Programmes are delivered through a blended-learning model, which blends contact teaching with distance education. A new dean, Prof. Daniella Coetzee, was appointed to guide the establishment of the school.

The school will collaborate with the different faculties, and is currently managing the continuing education-sponsored endeavours of the Faculty of Education. These include projects for in-service training of teachers in Mathematics, Natural and Physical Sciences, Languages, Literacy, Economic and Management Sciences, Technology and various areas of Management and Leadership.

Apart from the training of currently serving teachers, the school and the Faculty of Education are also involved in the professional training of FET-college lecturers, and have recently been awarded an R17m injection by the Flemish Government to develop programmes and to further deliver in this area.

Collaboration with the Faculty of Law has also led to the prospect of managing a B.Iuris. programme aimed at the police force, commencing in 2012.

The University Preparation Programme (UPP), offering particular generic and optional subjects for students to enter into the formal university programmes, will also form part of the School of Open Learning.

 

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