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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

More than 500 to graduate this summer
2015-11-30

A total of 544 graduates will walk across the stage to collect their hard-earned qualifications at this year’s Summer Graduation on the Bloemfontein Campus.

A total of 106 Master’s Degrees and 39 Doctorates will be conferred by all seven faculties of the University of the Free State (UFS). About 231 pre-graduates are expected from the Faculty of Health Sciences. The School of Open Learning will proudly award 122 Diplomas and 46 Certificates.

Prof Busisiwe Rosemary Bhengu, Chairperson of the South African Nursing Council, will be the guest speaker for the day.

About the guest speaker

Prof Bhengu holds a PhD in Nursing, and is an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). From 2008, Bhengu has headed the UKZN School of Nursing.  She has supervised and co-supervised several PhD and Master’s students.

In addition to teaching Critical Care Nursing at both local and international levels, Bhengu was responsible for the development of the Nurse Specialist syllabus at the university. Her contributions to the field reach as far as the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Rwanda, and Seychelles, where she pioneered course development and implementation for critical care nursing in the curriculum for Nurse Anaesthetics in Rwanda.

Other leadership positions held by Prof Bhengu include directing the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in the UKZN School of Nursing between 2008 and 2011; representing the Afro-Region at the Executive Committee of the Global Network; chairing the Professional Conduct Committee; and the Laws, Practice and Standards Committee. She has published many papers internationally.

A musical prelude

The Sonnedou residence Kleinser group will deliver a few musical items for the graduates, friends, and family.

Details of event

Date:
Thursday 10 December 2015
Time:  08:00am and 14:30pm
Place: Callie Human Centre, Bloemfontein Campus

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