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New partner in South Africa

UFS  Bloemfontain/South Africa becomes associated partner

(May 2012)

 

General information on UFS to frame the new partnership

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The University of the Free State (UFS) with its Main Campus in Bloemfontein, the judicial capital of South Africa and in the central heart of the country, is one of the oldest South African institutions of higher learning. With the appointment of Prof. Jonathan Jansen as Vice-Chancellor and Rector on 1 July 2009, the UFS entered a new, dynamic era. Prof. Jansen brings with him a new vision for the UFS of academic excellence and social contributions and for the first time the UFS is poised to take a leading role in higher education in South Africa. The university is a multicultural, parallel-medium (English and Afrikaans) institution with a history intertwined with that of the Free State and South Africa and, to a growing extent, Africa and the rest of the world. Its values are aligned with EDUWEL, especially fairness, service and integrity.

 

Why the UFS supports the partnership

The UFS (and indeed South African universities more broadly) is working hard to a foster a culture of high quality postgraduate work, and to build research capacity among early stage and early career academics, especially in the social sciences and humanities. This is being significantly resourced given its importance to the UFS. As part of this process the UFS is very keen to open the university to the wider world and to encourage young researchers to share their expertise with the UFS.

 

Why is the partnership with UFS interesting for the EduWel network? What can UFS offer to the EduWel ESRs?

The UFS brings a unique perspective to EDUWEL. Although the project is focused on

conditions in Europe, Europe is always connected to the wider world; the UFS enables the viewpoint of Adam Smith’s ‘impartial spectator’ by enlarging the ‘space’ in which debates about inequality and opportunities takes place. Moreover, historically South Africa has close inks with Europe. The continued involvement of Professor Melanie Walker enriches capability theorizing, and enables continued access to her significant expertise in doctoral education training and research methodology.

However, the partnership will be mutually beneficial. The UFS also has a great deal to gain from the partnership in terms of understanding research capacity building at doctoral level, which is much needed in South Africa. The partnership opens the possibility that one or more of the ESRs may wish to visit South Africa for shorter or longer periods and to experience the pressures of development, education and welfare in a developing country, offering them a new perspective on their own research and enlarging their personal and professional experiences and networks. Any such visits have the potential to make tremendous impact on the University community. In turn ESRs might have access to an expanded range of third sector organizations in the education and welfare arena.

Welcoming UFS Bloemfontain in the Network

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