Social class issues at UFS addressed

From the left are Stars of Stars winner, Thabang Sithela, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Francis Petersen, and Director of Student Recruitment Services, Nomonde Mbadi.

The University of the Free State’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Francis Petersen, is upbeat in tackling issues around social class faced by pupils from impoverished households in disadvantaged schools in the province.

Prof. Petersen said this while delivering a brief speech during the UFS’s provincial Stars of Stars gala dinner at a packed Centenary Hall on the Bloemfontein campus on Saturday 2 February 2019.

Petersen said the social class and the University Admission Point Score (APS) policy, if applied consistently, should help alleviate the extent of social difficulties faced by pupils from impoverished households. He added that learners from disadvantaged schools in townships should not be looked at and assessed according to the same structure as their counterparts in affluent schools.

“If you take the top ten students from a school in a central section in Botshabelo and compare it to Grey College for instance, you scientifically count the disadvantaged factors which you should add on the AP score if your admission policy is applied consistently,” said Petersen. “Therefore the value that schools bring to this competition is not only to deal with issues of social class, but is also to attack those gaps schools experience to enter the UFS,” added Petersen.

The director of Student Recruitment Services, Nomonde Mbadi, said the Stars of Stars competition is the culmination of a process that started early in 2018 and which has been won by Palesa Modutwane and Lehlohonolo Bula as ambassadors.

“This competition has received more than 100 applications from 44 poor schools in different regions, which included Lejweleputswa, Motheo and Xhariep. The top ten’s application point score ranges from AP 38 to 44, which is amazing. They are registered at the faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Humanities and Economic Management Sciences,” added Mbadi.

Thabang Sithela from LA Wesi Secondary in Allanridge was announced as overall winner. He described the competition as an inspirational path and said winning the competition reflected upon his hard work, passion for excellence and the drive to achieve more through academic excellence. – Lucky Nkuyane