Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
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

We show our colours in support of autism awareness
2012-04-11

The Main Building on our Bloemfontein Campus will be illuminated in blue till the end of April to show support for autism awareness.
Photo: René-Jean van der Berg
12 April 2012

The Main Building on our Bloemfontein Campus will be illuminated in blue till the end of April to show our support for autism awareness, together with the rest of the world.

April is Autism Awareness Month and various iconic landmarks worldwide will be lit up in blue to honour those with autism.

Autism is one of only three conditions that are commemorated by the World Health Organisation.

Autism is a neurological condition that can be diagnosed in children as young as three years old. Worldwide one out of every 100 children is diagnosed within the autistic spectrum. This means that in South Africa a child is born with autism every hour and in the Free State some 400 children per year are born with the condition.

“Despite the high prevalence of autism in South Africa, South Africans know very little about it,” says Dr. David Griessel, an autism expert of the UFS’s Department of Paediatrics and Child Health. “Stories and films that attempt to portray autistic characters often create the wrong impression among the public concerning this complex illness. This distorts the reality since every child with autism is unique,” says Dr. Griessel.

He says it is important that all children with signs of autism are referred for evaluation as early intervention can prevent autism from further disrupting normal development.

Therapists and teachers who specialise in autism-specific treatment play an important role in this regard.

“However, there are no well-established services for toddlers in the Free State. Fortunately, there are classes developing in schools such as Lettie Fouché, Willem Postma and Pholoho, as well as in Kroonstad and Welkom. The Free State Autism Association has established a private school that offers a service to seven learners.”

For more information on autism in children or for information on special projects in the Free State, contact Dr. Griessel at +27(0)51 405 53177 or +27(0)51 405 3181.

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