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Prof Melanie Walker
Fostering human capabilities in universities may potentially transform education, says Prof Melanie Walker.

Education is at the centre of human life, and has the potential to be a crucial support for democratic life. Prof Melanie Walker’s recent research paper strikes a balance in dealing with people, education and the implications for democracy through the lens of human capabilities theory and practice and her own research.

People and papers

In her capacity as the SARChI Chair in the Higher Education and Human Development Research Programme at the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof Walker recently published a paper titled: Defending the Need for a Foundational Epistemic Capability in Education. It appeared in the special issue of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities in honour of renowned Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s 85th birthday.

Nurturing epistemic justice

Within the context of existing literature such as that of Sen’s concern with the value of education on the one hand, and public reasoning on the other, Prof Walker argues for a foundational epistemic capability to shape the formal education landscape – as well as quality in education – by fostering inclusive public reasoning (including critical thinking) in all students. It would contribute to what Sen calls the ‘protective power of democracy’ and shared democratic rights, which, he argues, are strongly missed when most needed.

“Sen’s approach asks us to build democratic practices in our university and in our society in ways which create capabilities for everyone. If our students learn public reasoning in all sorts of spaces in university, including the pedagogical, they may carry this into and back to society,” she said.

Educating for equality

Empowering society and fighting for justice are some of the crucial contributions made possible through fostering the epistemic capability of all students. “The capability requires that each student is recognised as both a knower and teller, a receiver and a contributor in critical meaning and knowledge, and an epistemic agent in processes of learning and critical thinking,” states Prof Walker.

In a young democracy like South Africa’s, inclusive public reasoning becomes all the more essential in order to achieve equality, uphold rights and sustain democracy as enshrined in the constitution, thereby improving people’s lives. 

News Archive

FSB recognises degree and diploma programmes at UFS
2009-02-16

The Financial Services Board (FSB) has recognised two qualifications – the Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning and the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning – offered by the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Centre for Financial Planning Law in the Faculty of Law in accordance with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS). In addition to these the FSB has also recognised four degrees offered by the UFS’s School of Management. The degrees are:

  • B.Com. (Risk Management)
  • B.Com. (General Management)
  • B.Com. (Banking)
  • Bachelor of Management Leadership (BML)

All these qualifications are deemed fit and proper for compliance purposes by the FSB.

The Director of the UFS School of Management, Prof Helena van Zyl, says that the recognition of four degree programmes is yet another feather in the cap of the School of Management and the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

Prof. Van Zyl says the School of Management fulfils a vital role in providing excellent and approved financial and business education in South Africa.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
10 February 2009
 

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