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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. 

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Volksblad (Editorial) Transformation recipe (Afrikaans)

(Editorial - Afrikaans)

Dinsdag 13 Februarie 2007


DIE transformasieproses in Suid-Afrika kan vooruitgang pootjie as dit nie reg aangepak en deurgevoer word nie.

Anders gestel: 'n Onbekookte, ondeurdagte proses kan soveel skade aanrig dat dit die land jare gaan neem net om weer op die been te kom.

Dit is hierdie slaggate waarteen prof. Adam Habib, direkteur van demokrasie en regering by die RGN, waarsku. Transformasie in die hoër onderwys is hier ter sprake, maar belangrike lesse is ook vir die res van die staatshuishouding te leer.

Habib het op 'n gespreksgeleentheid op die Wits-kampus gesê universiteite kan binne 10 tot 15 jaar sterf as niks gedoen word om nuwe, jong akademici van gehalte te werf nie. In hul poging om te transformeer en "swart boude op sitplekke te kry" het universiteite so agtergeraak met hul doelwitte dat hulle nou selfs van swakker gehalte is as vroeër. "Speletjies" word met transformasie gespeel en 'n "malheid" rondom syfers is aan die gang.

Instellings fokus so daarop om hul kwota-mikpunte te bereik, sê die professor, dat dienslewering en kundigheid die kreeftegang gaan. "So kry 'n mens 'n situasie waar die adjunk-president dan aankondig sy moet Indië toe gaan om vaardige mense te kry."

'n Mens kan net hoop dat hierdie waarskuwings op die regte ore val.

Transformasie is nodig, maar beslis nie tot elke prys nie.

Dit kan die hoëronderwys-sektor loon om te kom kyk waarheen die Universiteit van die Vrystaat met sy Institusionele Manifes op pad is.

Die manifes, tans nog 'n besprekingsdokument, gaan die transformasieproses van die UV rig met as einddoel 'n instelling waar alle Suid-Afrikaners plek sal hê en tuis sal voel, maar waarin kernwaardes soos akademiese gehalte en die volgehoue versterking van kernbevoegdhede en -vermoëns ononderhandelbaar is.

Dit is sekerlik die enigste pad na transformasie-welslae wat Suid-Afrika kan en moet loop.

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