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

National Department of Health invests R53.5 million in UFS laboratory
2016-02-04

Description: Dr Derek Litthauer Tags: Dr Derek Litthauer

Dr Derek Litthauer
Photo: Supplied

This year has started off on a high note for Dr Derek Litthauer and his team at the South African National Control Laboratory (NCL) for Biological Products. The National Department of Health has awarded the NCL a contract to the value of R53.5 million to continue testing vaccines for the next three years.

Vaccines are biological medicines used to ensure healthy populations by preventing many diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, worldwide, about 5.2 million children under six years old die annually. Of these deaths, 29% are vaccine preventable. Research has revealed that vaccines prevent about 6 million deaths each year globally. Safe and effective vaccines are essential public health tools, which are strictly regulated internationally. It is the NCL’s responsibility to perform quality control testing on all vaccines to be used on humans in South Africa.

This laboratory, the only one of its kind in Africa, receives samples of vaccines from manufacturers and importers for rigorous evaluation and testing. No vaccine may be used in South Africa without a release certificate issued by the Control Lab, certifying that the vaccine is suitable for human use.

The contract is a commitment to ensuring that only vaccines of the highest quality are used in South Africa.

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