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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

The UFS produces some of the finest teachers in the country
2015-03-02

 

The quest for producing well-grounded, excellent and prolific teachers at the UFS is bearing fruit. Numerous accolades have over the years been bestowed on some of the UFS Qwaqwa Campus's finest graduates.

"For us as the faculty, it is gratifying and rewarding to learn about the achievements of our students. These achievements do not only validate our efforts, but inspire us as well,” says Dr Dipane Hlalele, Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Education at the UFS.

Dr Hlalele also revealed that, in the recent past, the faculty at the Qwaqwa Campus has experienced an increase in the enrolment figures for teacher training.

"Numbers in our initial teacher education programmes grow in leaps and bounds and we produce some of the best teachers in the country. We are proud to say that on graduation day, our students receive at least two things, i.e., their qualifications as well as entry into the teaching profession," added Hlalele.

Some of the shining examples that Dr Hlalele referred to, are Tebello Tshabalala (English), Mthobisi Khumalo (Mathematics), Thabo Mohapi (Physical Sciences), Lehlohonolo Khanye (Accounting) and Yvonne Tsotetsi (Business Studies). All of these are educators at Lekgulo Senior Secondary School in Qwaqwa and have each produced a 100% pass rate in the 2014 examinations.

There is also Nape Motloung, whose excellent Mathematics results at Botshabelo's Lefikeng High School have placed him as the Top Mathematics Educator in the Free State. Motloung's consistent excellent results have also placed his school in the Top 10 of the Best Performing Schools in Mathematics. This has also won his school R100 000 from the Free State Department of Education.

At yet another Qwaqwa school, Sekgutlong Secondary, Malefetsane Mokomotoane's Mathematics results over the years have earned him a runner-up prize in the category Excellence in Teaching Mathematics at the 2014 National Teachers Awards hosted by Minister Angie Motshekga.

"I am proud to have had 98% of my learners pass Mathematics, with 10 distinctions," said an elated Mokomotoane, who has just been appointed Principal of Selelekela Secondary School in Qwaqwa.

"Having achieved an average of 59%, my highest ever, has taught me and my learners that through hard work, anything is possible," added Mokomotoane.

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