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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

Dean of Health Sciences receives prestigious international fellowship
2015-11-11



Dean of the Faculty of Health Science,
Prof Gert van Zyl

The Dean of our Faculty of Health Science, Prof Gert van Zyl, was admitted as an Inaugural Fellow of the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) at the annual conference in Glasgow.

This fellowship recognises members of AMEE who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to excellence in health professional education through scholarly contributions to the field over at least five years. Prof Van Zyl was honored with a Fellowship for his senior role related to education at the UFS, including his scholarly contributions. “This was an enormous privilege for me to be awarded the AMEE full Fellowship as one of only two South Africans to receive this honour from a prestigious organisation such as the AMEE. It also gives credit to the excellent work done by the team in the South African Association of Health Educationalists (SAAHE), and the Health Science Education team in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the UFS. All the leadership, hard work, and excellence over many years are acknowledged with this Fellowship. My appreciation to colleagues that motivated and inspired me during my academic journey to achieve this fellowship,” says Prof Van Zyl.

In seeking Fellowship of AMEE, applicants make a commitment to continue their leadership and the promotion of scholarship in health professional education into the future, as well as to the ongoing mentorship and development of more junior members who aspire to recognition at Associate Fellow or Fellow level. Fellows are expected to contribute actively to AMEE activities.

Prof Van Zyl was also recently appointed by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, as Council Member representing Higher Education on the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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