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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

Internet Broadcast Project grabs attention of Commonwealth – and yet another award
2015-07-28


 
Learn more about the Internet Broadcast Project and its impact on learners’ lives

The Internet Broadcast Project (IBP) has brought yet another international award to the University of the Free State (UFS). This project – which is changing the lives of Free State school learners – has won second place in the Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards, a huge achievement considering that the IBP was chosen from 89 submissions entered by a total of 20 countries belonging to the Commonwealth.

This latest award comes close on the heels of another international award that was presented to the IBP recently. In April 2015, the project was the winner of the 2015 Enterprise Video Award (EVA) in the category Video in Education Scholarship. This makes it two in a row, since the IBP also won an EVA in 2014 for Innovation in Pedagogy.

 

Mr Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, presenting the second-place prize for the Commonwealth Good Practice Awards to Sarietjie Musgrave, Head: ICTISE (ICT in School Education) on behalf of ICTISE.
Photo: Peter Ramsay

Live broadcast at no cost to schools
The IBP – presented from the UFS South Campus – makes use of the best teachers to broadcast lessons to school learners who do not have access to quality education. More than 10 subjects are broadcast live, via VSAT Internet Access, to 70 centres across the province. The technology provided at each school allows learners to communicate with the presenter in the studio during broadcast at no cost to the school or learner.

“Through the IBP,” says Sarietjie Musgrave, Head: ICTISE (ICT in School Education), “we aim to bring quality education to each and every learner, regardless of their socio-economic status or geographical location, while delivering cost-effective continuous teacher professional development directly relevant to the Free State community we serve.”

Making a positive difference
The Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards honour education programmes that have made a positive difference to the status and condition of school children, teachers, or the education system in their countries. The IBP was lauded for its excellence in six of the Action Areas of Good Practices:

• Relevance
• Measurable impact and effect
• Sustainability
• Efficiency and effectiveness
• Community participation
• Replication

“Receiving this international award,” says Musgrave, “shows that we are having an impact worldwide.”

 

 

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