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02 May 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
South Campus UAP celebrates 27 years of access to education
Mr Francois Marais, Prof Kalie Strydom, Prof Daniella Coetzee (South Campus Principal), Prof Francis Petersen, Dr Nthabeleng Rammile (Vice-Chairperson of the UFS Council), and Dr Khotso Mokhele (Chancellor of the UFS).

More than 27 years ago, international funding from the Human Sciences Research Council and Anglo American was put to an unusual use for that time. Prof Kalie Strydom’s research unit at the University of the Free State (UFS) was tasked with reviewing how institutional missions would change in the new South Africa. Prof Strydom worked closely with surrounding communities in Bloemfontein to develop a bridging course which would help students who showed potential to access tertiary education, although they did not meet the requirements. His vision brought to birth the University Access Programme (UAP), as it is known today, which is hosted on the UFS South Campus, and is still providing unique access to higher-education institutions in South Africa.

People with a passion for human development
March 2018 saw the 27th anniversary of this remarkable initiative, which has given a second chance to over 18 000 students. Special guests at the event included Prof Strydom, Mr Francois Marais, and representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training and Investec’s corporate social investment office.

Dr Sonja Loots, researcher in the UFS Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), singled out two key individuals in the formation of the UAP: Prof Kalie Strydom, who initiated the programme, and Mr Marais, who has been Director of the UAP since its inception. Dr Loots highlighted one of the driving forces behind Prof Strydom’s perseverance, vision, and determination with the UAP by quoting from an interview with him for an upcoming book on student access and success. He said, “It was a decision based on principle … to be part of the solution to a better country.”

Access and success still an issue today
In his presentation on the “Importance of Access”, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, pointed out the vital role of access in South Africa, especially the value it offers for the betterment of the country’s people. However, he said that student success is also an issue, and institutions need to be accountable for it. Quoting Prof John Martin of the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Engineering, “We must be flexible on access, but robust on success.” Only by “closing the loop” in this way, can the UFS and other higher-education institutions ensure a valuable contribution to the economy of the country.

News Archive

Kovsies offer prospective students countless opportunities at Open Day
2017-05-16

Description: Bloem Open Day 2017  Tags: Bloem Open Day 2017

The University of the Free State Bloemfontein
Campus opened its doors to prospective 2018
students at this year’s Open Day to learn what
being a Kovsie entails.
Photo: Johan Roux

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“It is important for us not to be stressed or confused, as you need to understand where your passion lies.”

These were the encouraging words of Prof Francis Petersen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), to the learners in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus during this year’s Open Day on 13 May 2017.

Prospective learners, teachers, as well as parents came out in numbers to learn and see what the UFS has to offer. The audience was also set ‘In the Mood’ by the enchanting voices of the Swing-City band.

UFS represent diversity, inclusivity as well as academic excellence

Prof Petersen highlighted the importance of the values which the UFS stands for, namely diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence, as vital reasons why learners should consider coming to the UFS.

“We believe that innovation is part of the curriculum, it is part of the way we do things, and it is also embedded as a key attribute that we will expose potential Kovsie students to,” he said.

Mpho Maloka, a parent from Welkom, says: “It (the UFS) represents the Free State and it is home-brewed. We want our kids to have the best education, and with many of my colleagues that graduated from the UFS, you can see the quality, the enthusiasm, and the success that comes from this university.”

Graduates to impact society through innovation

Prof Petersen said that the UFS will not only develop them as individuals, but will also assist them in making a contribution to society. “If you really want to have an excellent degree, well-rounded exposure to Kovsie life, make an impact on society through innovative thought, and also have the value of being exposed to a richness of diversity, then Kovsies is the place to be.”

Sergio Abdiziet, a learner from Heidedal, said that he’d like to be part of the UFS, because it is one of the best universities in the country.

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