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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

Kovsies foster closer ties with Asian universities
2012-03-19

 

The UFS’s exhibition at the second International Seminar and QS MasterClass on Internationalisation of Higher Education (iQS) in Thailand.
19 March 2012


We increased our stature in Asia by presenting the International Seminar and QS MasterClass on Internationalisation of Higher Education (iQS) in Thailand in cooperation with four universities from the region.

The UFS presented the seminar together with Mahasarakham University of Thailand, Guangxi University for Nationalities in China, Universiti Teknologi Malayisiaand the University of the Philippines Diliman. The UFS’s involvement in the seminar is the result of a cooperation agreement that was signed with Mahasarakham University, the host of the seminar. The UFS is the first university in Africa that has a cooperation agreement with Mahasarakham.
 
Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic, and Prof. Annette Wilkinson, Professor-Researcher at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, represented the UFS. They ensured that delegates to the seminar were aware of what was happening at Kovsies. Prof. Hay took part in a panel discussion. She also delivered a paper in which she looked at the implications of internationalisation on curricula. The UFS also had an exhibition at the event.
 
Prof. Wilkinson said the seminar offers universities in that part of the world the opportunity to improve their position internationally by exchanging knowledge and ideas. She said the approximately 130 delegates showed considerable interest in the UFS.
“A number of Mahasarakham University’s lecturers and management, as well as some of the other delegates, expressed an interest in visiting the UFS and in fostering closer ties.”

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