Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
29 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Pexels
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

Prof. Hennie Snyman named national agriculturist of the year
2009-11-18

Here is Prof. Snyman (right) with Adv. Koos Nel, Marketing Manager of Old Mutual, one of the sponsors.
Photo: Ben Rootman

This past weekend Prof. Hennie Snyman from the Department of Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) became the second agriculturist in a row at the UFS that was named the national agriculturist of the year by Agricultural Writers SA. This honour was bestowed upon Prof. Maryke Labuschagne from the Department of Plant Sciences at the UFS last year. Prof. Snyman is, amongst others, honoured because he is one of the few South African agriculturists that are making a comprehensive contribution towards the Grasslands and Agricultural Sciences.

His broad field of research over the past 32 years has been the sustainable utilisation of the grasslands ecosystem in drier areas in particular. Various other grasslands projects in various fields have also been undertaken by him. The adjudication took place in five categories, namely the contribution towards agriculture in general, the contribution towards the development of the farmer, adaptation to changing circumstances in the agricultural industry, national and international recognition in the agricultural industry and the field in which he is an expert and achievements already attained. Prof. Snyman received the award during a dinner of the Agricultural Writers SA in Pretoria.

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