Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

Service learning teaching strategy essential for the infusion of graduate attributes
2017-01-02

Description: Dr Pulane Pitso Tags: Dr Pulane Pitso 

Dr Pulane Pitso, Director: Institutional Performance
Monitoring within Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Branch in the Department of the Premier, Free State
Provincial Government (FSPG).
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

“Public service delivery is not only about ‘government’s sector end products’, but is also fundamentally related to the ways in which the citizens can be best served at the point of client interface, as the primary beneficiaries.”

It is against this backdrop that Dr Pulane Pitso’s study explored the role of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in infusing the curriculum with graduate attributes for improved service delivery. The study is entitled: Community service learning as a transformative tool for infusing the university curriculum with graduate attributes for improved service delivery.
 
Citizens the central focus in public-service delivery
Although with the advent of democracy, the South African public service introduced the Batho Pele “people first” initiative which is one of the key transformation-oriented initiatives to ensure that citizens are the central focus in public service  delivery. An extant literature indicates that more work by the government still needs to be done in terms of the institutionalisation and implementation thereof.

Notwithstanding that public service is primarily responsible for addressing challenges related to poor service delivery, Dr Pitso moved from a premise that a multifaceted and collaborative approach, underpinned by a concerted effort by all relevant sectors, is more likely to contribute significantly towards improving service delivery. Specific focus was given to sectors primarily mandated to lay foundations through training and development such as HEIs, since the nature and quality of public service largely depends on the nature, quality and relevance of the system of education.

CSL a transformative teaching strategy
The basis for her thesis, emanated from the contention that public service delivery is a dynamic process which cultivates into a citizen-government relationship.

“It is this relationship that makes the implementation of the Batho Pele initiative crucial in ensuring that the social fabric and moral character of government is not compromised, thus the sustainability and facilitation of the emerged relationship,” Dr Pitso says.

The study focuses on the notion of community service learning (CSL) as an increasingly recognised transformative teaching strategy. It transcends lecture halls and utilises communities as educational spaces to provide practical exposure to real-life experiences to students on both learning and serving the communities.

Instilling graduate attributes in students
Dr Pitso’s thesis, which was predominately qualitative in nature, comprised two main stages. The first stage of the study focused on determining the current state of the public service in terms of the implementation of the Batho Pele principles. Whereas with the second stage, the focus was on determining the extent to which the graduate attributes are instilled in students by means of an exit-level CSL module at the UFS.

Dr Pitso’s thesis, which was awarded to her on 30 June 2016, is the product of five years of hard work, commitment and perseverance. She said it would not have been realised if it had not been for the leadership and mentorship of her promoter, Prof Mabel Erasmus, and co-promoter, Prof Victor Teise.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept