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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

Bloem Campus to host Color Run on 27 February 2016
2016-02-15

Description: Bloem Campus to host Color Run Tags: Bloem Campus to host Color Run
Two in millions: 2015 Color Runners doused and dressed in colours of the rainbow.
Photo: The Color Run photographer

Unleash your inner sparkle at The Color Run’s Varsity Tour. The University of the Free State is a proud host of the 2016 Bloemfontein edition. Be counted among the 5 million Color Runners worldwide who walk, skip, shimmy, or hop for five kilometres in the name of fun and charity.

 

The Color Run is the largest series of events in the world promoting healthiness and happiness. Arina Engelbrecht, Chief Officer at the Health and Wellness Centre, believes that “active people are happy people.” Consequently, she encourages students, staff members, and the community to join in the festivities.

Run to make a difference

Wearing white and being doused from head to toe in the colours of the rainbow while exercising is a very different way of extending a helping hand to those in need. For every ticket sold, R10 will be donated to the No Student Hungry campaign by The Color Run and Capitec Bank.

After running through four colour stations, a spectacular show awaits you at the finish line. The Finish Festival is a combination of colour throws, rainbows, glitter, music, and dancing.  

The Color Run takes place on:

Date: 27 February 2016
Time: 16:00
Place: Cricket Grounds, Bloemfontein Campus.

Tickets are available online: www.thecolorrun.co.za at R250 for the public, R190 for students, including a goodie bag, or R90 without a goodie bag. Children under 10 years of age enter free. You will receive a R200 coupon to spend on The Color Run goodies or any product of your choice. Goodie bags may be collected at the Cricket Grounds from 25 February 2016.

For more information, contact hello@thecolorrun.co.za.

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