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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

UFS apologises for noise disturbance during newcomers' student festival
2010-02-01

Last night (Saturday, 30 January 2010), the University of the Free State (UFS) received various complaints regarding disturbance caused by the noise during a student function that took place at the Rag Farm on the Main Campus.

"I wish to apologise on behalf of the UFS for the inconvenience that residents in the neighbouring residential areas had to suffer during the Newcomers’ Student Festival last night,” said Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs at the UFS.

The function took place to conclude the welcoming period for new students. “Although strict measures applied regarding the staging of the event, amongst others, cut-off times for the performances of the guest artists and die organisation of the Rag Farm to prevent excessive noise, various unexpected factors made this difficult,” said Mr Buys.

One of the factors was the fact the more than double the expected number of spectators attended the event. As a result of this, measures pertaining to crowd control had to be adjusted. “Although we managed to end the event without any incidents, I am truly sorry that we could not bring the disturbance caused to the neighbouring suburbs to an end earlier,” he said.

“We are committed to finding a sustainable solution to those types of challenges that student events at the Rag Farm can offer to the neighbouring residential areas. Therefore we are going to call meetings with residents and community leaders of the residential areas in order to resolve the problems in a collaborative manner,” Mr Buys said.

An internal evaluation of the situation shall also be undertaken in order to rectify any possible errors or shortcomings in the organisation of the Newcomers’ Student Festival, as well as regarding the organisation of future student events.

“We would like to thank residents of the neighbouring residential areas for the exceptional way in which they often exercise patience, show understanding and make allowances for the times when student activities taking place on the Main Campus become demanding. It is therefore important for us to find solutions to challenges in this regard and engage in meaningful cooperation with residents,” said Mr Buys.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za
31 January 2010
 

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