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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

SASOL TRAC laboratory launched at UFS Qwaqwa Campus
2006-05-08

Some of the guests attending the launch of the Sasol TRAC Laboratory at the University of the Free State's (UFS) Qwaqwa Campus were from the left Prof Peter Mbati (Principal of the Qwaqwa Campus), Mrs Zimbini Zwane ( Communications Manager of Sasol Infrachem), Prof Gerhardt  de Klerk (Dean : UFS Faculty of the Humanities), Prof Fred Hugo
 Director of TRAC SA) and Prof Jack van der Linde (Director of RIEP at the UFS).

SASOL TRAC laboratory launched at UFS Qwaqwa Campus

The Research Institute for Education Planning (RIEP) of the University of the Free State (UFS) today unveiled the Sasol TRAC Laboratory at its Qwaqwa campus.

The laboratory will be used to help grade 10, 11 and 12 learners and educators from the Qwaqwa region to conduct the experiments from the physical sciences outcome-based curriculum.

“The Sasol TRAC Laboratory introduces learners not only to the latest technology used by engineers and other scientists in practice but also to stimulate the learner’s interest in the field of science in such a way that more of them will enter into science related careers,” says Mr Cobus van Breda, Co-ordinator of the TRAC Free State Regional Centre.

According to Mr van Breda the newly established Sasol TRAC Laboratory will enable RIEP to train learners and their educators in Physical Sciences.  The laboratory will consist of six work stations equipped with computers and electronic sensors.

“Learners from the Qwaqwa region will visit the Sasol TRAC Laboratory on regular basis to conduct experiments based on the curriculum.  Data will be collected with electronic apparatus and presented as graphs on the computer so that results can be analysed and interpreted,” says Mr van Breda.

“There is a serious shortage of suitable qualified teachers in maths and science in the Qwaqwa region.  Many schools in the region are not yet part of the RIEP project and are in dire need of assistance.  A large number of these schools are in remote areas not reached regularly by intervention programmes,” says Prof Peter Mbati, Principal of the UFS Qwaqwa Campus.

“The establishment of the Sasol TRAC Laboratory at the Qwaqwa Campus provides us the opportunity to engage with our community and assist in the development and training of these vital education subjects.  We are pleased that Sasol agreed to fund the project,” says Prof Mbati.

Students from the Qwaqwa Campus will also benefit from the TRAC programme.   “Some promising students will also undergo further training and become assistants for the TRAC programme,” says Prof Mbati. 

“Nurturing science and mathematical skills is of great importance in growing our national economy. Annually, Sasol invests more than R50 million in supporting mathematical and science education in South Africa. Our primary aim is to increase the number of learners gaining access to tertiary education in the science fields. Therefore, our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) education interventions at secondary school level focus on educator development and direct learner interventions such as the Sasol TRAC Laboratory,” explains Ms Pamilla Mudhray, CSI and SHARP manager at Sasol.

According to Ms Mudhray the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement for physical sciences in the further education and training (FET) phase from 2006, under resourced schools will need greater access to the tools and equipment necessary to teach the syllabus and fulfil the ideals of the curriculum.

TRAC South Africa is a national non-profit programme focused on supporting and expanding science, mathematics and technology education in secondary schools. The programme was first introduced to South Africa in 1994. In 2005, RIEP established the TRAC Free State regional centre on the UFS Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
5 May 2006

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