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

Multimillion rand donation to boost UFS schools
2013-02-05

At the launch were Dr Cobus van Breda, Director of the Science-for-the- Future Unit at the UFS, Mr Makhetha Botsane from the Free State Department of Education Mrs. Elizna Prinsloo, Programme Manager of the Family Maths and Family Science project and Mr Graham McCulloch, Free State representative of the Ilima Trust.
Photo: Kelly Abrahams
05 February 2013

The University of the Free State’s UFS) Family Maths and Family Science project has received a R1 million sponsorship from Old Mutual for 2013. This is a three-year project whereby the university’s School of Open Learning aims to demystify mathematics and science in the early school years, as stated in their mission. The launching ceremony took place on 1 February 2013 at the UFS Campus.

The sponsorship was made available by Old Mutual, but will be managed by the project management group, Ilima Trust.

The UFS received R30 million altogether from Old Mutual for the use on various projects.

Except for the Family Maths and Family Science project, the Schools make over project and the Internet Broadcasting Programme will also benefit from this donation.

“Ilima has a hands-on relationship with different projects and is the public face for the FM & FS sponsorship,” said Mr Graham McCulloch, Ilima Trust representative for the Free State.

“Today is the first step on the long road to improving math and science in the country,” McCulloch said.

Dr Cobus van Breda, Director of the Science-for-the-Future Unit  says the Family Math and Family Science Project makes science and math accessible to children and their parents in the early years, with the aim of developing positive attitudes towards these often difficult school subject.

“This project aims to empower educators, parents and student educators by iving support and training in hands-on teaching methodologies.”

Learners, educators and parents from 18 schools in Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo will benefit from this project. Teachers will receive training at the UFS and then return to their community to train parents and to teach learners. Teachers will also receive activity material to use in classrooms.

“The selection of the 18 participating schools took place by identifying feeder schools of secondary schools from the UFS School Change Project, trying to create a whole-school development,” Van Breda said.

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