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

School dropouts are more vulnerable to HIV
2010-02-02

 Prof. Dennis Francis

Children who drop out of school miss out on information about HIV/Aids and reproduction health, according to research conducted by Prof. Dennis Francis, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State.

The research entitled “Towards understanding the way out-of-school youth respond to HIV/Aids” included out-of-school youths as researchers and identified key issues and problems facing them. It covered youths between the ages of 14 to 18.

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council of South Africa, showed that schools played a vital role in providing credible information on HIV/Aids and ways to prevent it.

It also found that these out-of-school youths believed that HIV/Aids was a non-issue and deliberately avoided the subject, with boys being the main culprits.

The researchers found that these youths got their information on HIV/Aids from friends, community healthcare workers, religious leaders, family and other youngsters. The way they responded to HIV/Aids varied and often depended on their social context, effects on their self esteem and sense of power, according to Prof. Francis.

They also discovered that knowledge about HIV/Aids did not necessarily translate into action.

“School-going youth displayed similar difficulties in applying knowledge in real-life situations and lacked the tools for doing so,” he said. “But, unlike school-going youth, out-of-school youth did not have the option of using the school environment to speak about misconceptions.”

These finding will be presented at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation-funded Hope 2010 Conference in India.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
2 February 2010

 

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