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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

Ethics at the heart of healthcare practice
2017-05-17

Description: Ethics at the heart of healthcare practice Tags: Ethics at the heart of healthcare practice

Prof Gert van Zyl during the launch of Health
Ethics for Healthcare Practitioners with
Prof Laetus Lategan at the Central
University of Technology.
Photo: Supplied

The Central University of Technology (CUT) in partnership with the University of the Free State (UFS) launched a newly published book: Health Ethics for Healthcare Practitioners that aims to raise awareness among healthcare practitioners and patients about various unethical challenges faced by healthcare services in both the private and public sectors.

Prof Laetus Lategan, Director of Research Development and Postgraduate Studies at CUT, and Prof Gert van Zyl, Dean of the UFS Faculty of Health Sciences, are the co-editors of the book intended to provide a moral guide to healthcare professionals when dealing with their patients. 

Holistic approach to healthcare practice

Their work places renewed emphasis on the importance of healthcare ethics. This is due to a diversifying range of healthcare services and the imminent collapse of the public healthcare service sector; most notably in developing countries. The authors particularly focus on how their findings can be integrated into real-life situations.  

The book looks at modern-day healthcare ethics and how they apply to both patients and healthcare practitioners including doctors, professional nurses and therapists. It is an elaborate reference book that will help healthcare practitioners to make informed decisions should they be faced with ethical dilemmas in their practices and assist them to gain a better understanding and devise solutions to problems faced by communities.

Academic journey and partnerships forged
Prof Van Zyl said the book had been a joyful journey of collaboration between the two universities, a journey of academic colleagues who become friends. He explained that they wanted to focus on creating new approaches to healthcare from an ethical perspective, to provide a guide and reference on ethics, not only to healthcare practitioners, but also to patients. “We hope this book will make a difference in healthcare delivery,” he concluded.

Prof Lategan said modern science needed to become more interdisciplinary, which would transcend the way science was conceived. “The essence of healthcare is to be of service to other people and have relationships with other people. I think it’s high time for us to start caring for one another, especially in the academic environment. If we are really looking after the health of other people, whether it is mental, spiritual or physical health, it starts with caring for other people.”

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