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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

Game farming a lens to analyse challenges facing democratic SA – Dr Kamuti
2017-05-30

 Description: Dr Kamuti Tags: Dr Kamuti

Dr Tariro Kamuti, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre
for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

One of the challenges facing South Africa’s developing game farming policy is the fractured state in the governance of the private game farming sector, says Dr Tariro Kamuti.

Dr Kamuti, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) at the University of the Free State (UFS), was presenting a seminar on Wednesday 17 May 2017 under the topic, Private Wildlife Governance in a Context of Radical Uncertainty: Challenges of South Africa’s Developing Game Farming Policy, which takes material from his PhD. He received his PhD from both the Vrije University in Amsterdam and the UFS in 2016.

His presentation explored how the private game industry positions itself in accordance with existing agricultural and environmental regulations. It also investigated the state’s response to the challenge of competing needs over land and wildlife resources which is posed by the gaming sector. “The transformation of the institutional processes mediating governance of the private game farming sector has been a long and enduring arrangement emerging organically over time,” Dr Kamuti said.

Game farming links wildlife and agricultural sectors
“I decided on this topic to highlight that game farming links the wildlife sector (associated with conservation and tourism) and the agricultural sector. Both make use of land whose resources need to be sustainably utilised to meet a broad spectrum of needs for the diverse South African population.

“The continuous skewed ownership of land post-1994 justifies questioning of the role of the state in confronting challenges of social justice and transformation within the economy.”

“Game farming can thus be viewed as a lens through which to study the broad challenges facing a democratic South Africa, and to interrogate the regulatory and policy framework in the agricultural and wildlife sectors at their interface,” Dr Kamuti said.

Challenges facing game farming policies

The state alone does not apply itself to the regulation of private gaming as a sector. “There is no clear direction on the position of private game farming at the interface of environmental and agricultural regulations, hence game farmers take advantage of loopholes in these institutional arrangements to forge ahead,” Dr Kamuti said.

He further went on to say that the state lacked a coherent plan for the South African countryside, “as shown by the outstanding land restitution and labour tenant claims on privately owned land earmarked for wildlife production”.

The South African government was confronted with a context in which the status quo of the prosperity of the middle classes under neoliberal policies was pitted against the urgent need to improve the material well-being of the majority poor.  Unless such issues were addressed, this necessarily undermined democracy as a participatory social force, Dr Kamuti said.

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