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30 March 2021 | Story Dikgapane Makgetha | Photo Supplied
Social Work students at the UFS are working with the relevant stakeholders in an Engaged Teaching and Learning service-learning project to promote and respect children’s rights.

The protection of children’s rights is the principal achievement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 Agenda. Emphasis has always been on the promotion and respect of children’s rights. Since the SDGs are grounded in a child rights-based approach, the University of the Free State (UFS) Social Work students – by engaging in a multi-disciplinary methodology – involve all the relevant stakeholders in their Engaged Teaching and Learning service-learning module project. 

The social partners, which included the South African Police Service (Child Protection Unit), the Department of Social Development, the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Health, faith-based organisations, and other children’s advocacy agents, were involved from inception until the apex launch of the project. 

Access to basic human rights

In their exit level, fourth-year Social Work students participate in community work practicums, which incorporates the theoretical development process in adherence to the objectives of their community work. The initial phase of the project involved the situation analysis exercise, which the students implemented through collaboration with the Rekgonne Primary School action committee. 

The outcome of the survey indicated that some learners were exposed to physical and sexual abuse. It was also found that they did not have access to basic human rights such as education, health care, and social grants due to the absence of the required legal documents. From the interactive discussions that took place during the launch, it emerged that some children do not have birth certificates required for school registration and access to social grants. 

Through the students’ community project, a platform was created where important skills and information could be shared among all important role players (who are in different professions and guardians of children’s human rights). It is believed that since learners are spending more hours in school, educators would be the primary detectors to notice signs of negligence and potentially adverse circumstances among their learners.

Role players collaborate to make a difference

Through the scholarship of engagement, students succeeded in engaging with the community to attend to societal challenges (violated children’s rights). In order to realise the outcome of the project, continuous collaboration among all role players must be sustained. All parties adopted a resolution to create safe environments both at school and at home by supporting families and caregivers.

Government partners that participated were determined to strengthen protection systems and improve child welfare, reinforcing the implementation of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.  Educators were empowered and supported in the mandate of the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC). This is an initiative that involves stakeholders in improving the quality of education for all children and addresses issues of safety and well-being for all children. 

News Archive

Minister praises the Faculty of Law
2009-02-13

 
At the launch of the Faculty of Law at the UFS's celebration of 100 years of jurisprudence, under the theme "Iurisprudentia 100", were, from the left: Judge Faan Hancke, Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Criminal and Medical Law and Chairperson of the UFS Council, Judge Lex Mpati, President of the Highest Court of Appeal, Mr Surty, Judge Hendrik Musi, Judge President of the High Court of the Free State, and Prof. Henning.
Photo: Stephen Collett
The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Enver Surty, has praised the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) for producing lawyers, academics, judges, etc. of great note.

Mr Surty was guest speaker this week on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein at the launch of the faculty’s celebration of a century of excellence in legal education, training and research at the UFS. The theme of the celebration is “Iurisprudentia 100”.

“The faculty has throughout its existence demonstrated its capability and capacity to produce scholars, legal practitioners, academics, judges, politicians etc, of great note. The university can take pride in the fact that, as an institution, you have done so well,” said Mr Surty.

Mr Surty said that our judiciary must be adequately qualified and it must be representative of our nation. “We must therefore have more aspiring judges in our midst and we must have a more representative judiciary – in race and gender. This is where an institution like the UFS can play an important role,” said Mr Surty.

Mr Surty also commented on the university’s engagement with its communities.
“The UFS has begun to recognise the importance of community engagement. Unless community engagement is part of your curricular activity we would not be able to produce the judges of the caliber we need who are better able to understand the social and economic context of our society,” he said.

According to Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS, the faculty has a distinguished history of excellence in theoretical and practical legal education and training, which can be traced as far back as the establishment of the Grey University College in 1904.

Over the years, student numbers grew considerably and today the faculty has over 2 700 graduate and postgraduate students.

“The faculty prides itself on the fact that some of its students and lecturers went on to hold some of the highest offices in the country. Under its alumni are state presidents, ministers of state, administrators, judges of appeal, judges, rectors, professors and lecturers at the UFS as well as at other universities, advocates, attorneys and legal advisors – in private practice as well as in government,” said Prof. Henning.

The faculty’s “Iurisprudentia 100” celebrations will take place throughout the year with activities such as breakfasts for the various alumni groups of the faculty and a series of inaugural lectures. Cum Laude awards will also be
handed to Judge Lex Mpati, President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, and Judge Louis Harms, Deputy President of the Supreme Court Appeal. The celebrations will be concluded in November with a prestige dinner.

Celebration programme:

26 February 2009: Visit by Prof. Fernand de Varennes (of the Murdoch Law School, Perth, Australia),
13 March 2009: Breakfast for all candidate attorneys
18 March 2009: Breakfast for judges and Cum Laude awards
15 May 2009: Breakfast for labour law certificate alumni
11 September 2009: Breakfast for diploma alumni (CFP)
16 October 2009: Breakfast for attorneys and advocates
9-12 November 2009: Inaugural and public lectures
13 November 2009: Centenary dinner

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
18 February 2009

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