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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.


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Access meets quality in UFS-Varsity College partnership for law degree
2012-07-30

 
At the event were, from the left: Mr Frank Thompson, CEO of ADvTECH, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, and Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS.
Photo: Johan Roux
30 July 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) and Varsity College this week officially launched a partnership whereby the university’s Faculty of Law will offer a four-year Bachelor of Law qualification through the UFS School of Open Learning on eight Varsity College campuses nationwide. This new degree will be offered as early as 2013.

This is the fulfilment of a dream, said Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the university. He was one of the speakers at the event that was attended by staff members and management from the, Faculty of Law, the university’s South Campus, Varsity College and ADvTECH.

The UFS Faculty of Law is one of the oldest and most distinguished faculties of law in South Africa, and has a close association with several overseas universities which ensures that the institution is internationally recognised.

“I am very positive and enthusiastic about this new partnership. We want to make this an enriching experience for staff and students from both the university as well as Varsity College,” Prof. Henning said.

The CEO of ADvTECH, Mr Frank Thompson, said he is overjoyed about the project and its potential. Varsity College is a brand of the ADvTECH Group, a JSE listed company invested in human capital.

“This is a new beginning for Varsity College and the UFS. Learning together, the slogan for this project, is very appropriate. We are excited to add new students to the university and Varsity College’s line-up,” Mr Thompson said.

Varsity College is part of the Independent Institute of Education (IIE), the leading provider of private higher education in South Africa. According to Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director of the IIE, the partnership between the IIE and the university is an example of the potential that is inherent in public-private partnerships to increase the range of high quality options available to students.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, who also was one of the speakers at this event, said with this partnership, students will get the best of both worlds in accessing higher education.

The Faculty of Law will ensure that students obtain both a thorough grounding in legal theory, as well as a solid practical foundation, and Varsity College, through a strong commitment to innovative teaching and learning, will empower more students to become legal graduates of the highest calibre. Thus, the innovative partnership between the UFS and Varsity College will produce a Bachelor of Law degree that is highly sought after in the legal profession.

This partnership is the first of its kind, paving the way for increased collaboration between public and private tertiary institutions to best serve the education sector and the future of graduates.

“This is what is possible when two dynamic partners like the university and Varsity College come together,” Prof. Jansen said.
 

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