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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

Inaugural lecture challenges leaders in higher education
2012-10-30

Dr Mamphela Ramphele
Photo: Stephen Collett
29 October 2012


Lecture
(Pdf format)

According to international statistics, South Africa’s school performance is rated 140th out of 144 countries. South Africa is also ranked 143rd out of 144 countries when it comes to  the quality of mathematics and science. About 600 000 South African graduates are unemployed and about 500 000 learners are failed by our current education system.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele brought these shocking statistics to the light at the inaugural lecture of the Annual Prestige Lecture at the Faculty of Education on Thursday 25 October 2012 at the University of the Free State (UFS).

This lecture will henceforth be known as the Mamphela Ramphele Prestige Lecture.

Dr Ramphelefocused her lecture on ‘Educating the 21st century citizen’.

“One of the defining characteristics of the 21st century is the vast number of choices that confront us every day at a personal, professional and political level.”

She asked if 21st century South Africans are equipped with the skills to make the choices that confront them daily.

“The failure to transform our apartheid education into one characterized by equity and excellence, is producing graduates who lack self-confidence.”

Dr Ramphele said that in South Africa about 1/6th of government expenditure goes to education, but the outcomes remain shocking.

For Dr Ramphele the answer lies in creating platforms for open conversation about South Africa’s painful past and the agenda for radical socio-economic restructuring should include the fundamental transformation of education.

She praised the UFS, under its current inspirational leadership, for its role as change agents through the education.

Prof. Rita Niemann, senior professor at the Faculty said the Annual Mamphela Ramphele lecture is to further expand and celebrate education in South Africa.

“Dr Ramphela has given us so much food for thought by challenging leaders in higher education to speak out about the questionable state of education in South Africa and to become engaged in the ‘revolution of the spirit’ in order to deliver citizens who own and shape the country.”
 

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