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14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

Faculty of Education discusses new curricula at summit
2012-03-07

 

Die Fakulteit Opvoedkunde se nuut-aangepaste B.Ed.-programme word binnekort by die Nasionale Departement van Hoër Onderwys en Opleiding ingedien vir herakkreditasie. Proff. Rita Niemann (links), Direkteur vir Nagraadse Studie en Navorsing, en Gawie du Toit, Direkteur vir Aanvanklike Onderwysersopvoeding, is aan die stuur van die herkurrikuleringsproses vir voorgraadse en nagraadse programme van die Fakulteit Opvoedkunde.
6 March 2012

The training of professional teachers rests on a strong curriculum. For this reason, the Faculty of Education has been re-looking at the curricula of the B.Ed. programme for the past two years.

Before this programme is submitted for approval and accreditation, the Education Faculty’s staff from the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses will attend a summit at the Gariep Dam on 7 and 8 March 2012. This summit is a sequel to guidelines drawn up by the National Department of Higher Education and Training on adjusted requirements for teacher training. It determines that all initial teacher training and honours programmes be recurriculated and resubmitted for accreditation. These requirements were published in the Government Gazette in July 2011 and involve all education faculties in the country.
 
Deans and line heads of other faculties, including Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Humanities, and Economic and Management Sciences, have also become involved as Education students often register for modules in these faculties.
 
Last week a team from the UFS’s Education Faculty also attended a workshop presented by the Council on Higher Education where the criteria for recurriculation and the evaluation of programmes were discussed.
 
Prof. Gawie du Toit of the UFS’s Faculty of Education says curriculation is not merely a technical process but requires thorough reflection and conceptualisation, involving various roleplayers.
“It is important that recurriculation should take place over a period of time to allow for sufficient time for reflection, absorption and ownership.”
 
Thus, the aim of the Gariep Dam summit is to introduce a teachers’ training program that will provide graduates with the necessary knowledge, skills and responsibilities to take up their places as academics and professional beginner teachers.
 
During these two days students in Education will not attend any classes but they are tasked with self study and to complete assignments.

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