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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

Dr Makutoane to present research on world stage in US

“If the SBL has acknowledged you,
it means the research you are doing
is solid. There are people out there
who want to listen to my paper.”

To present a research paper at an international conference of about 10 000 people and where 100 sessions are taking place at the same time is what dreams are made of for an academic. This is no longer a dream for the humble Dr Tshokolo Makutoane who will share his knowledge at the annual meeting of the prestigious Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).

Dr Makutoane, a senior lecturer at the Department of Hebrew at the University of the Free State (UFS), will be a speaker at the conference in Boston, in the US, from 19-21 November 2017. This after receiving a remarkable travel grant from the SBL to present his paper, titled The Contribution of Linguistic Typology for the Study of Biblical Hebrew in Africa: The Case of Sesotho Pronouns.

Description: Dr Makutoane to present research on world stage in US Tags: Dr Makutoane to present research on world stage in US

Dr Makutoane, senior lecturer at the Department of
Hebrew at the University of the Free State, was
speechless when he heard he will be presenting a
paper at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical
Literature in Boston in the US.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

Scholars from around the world participate
His paper is part of a thematic session on “Theoretical Approaches to Anaphora and Pronouns in Biblical Hebrew” in which scholars from Canada, the US, Australia, Europe and Israel will participate.

The research Dr Makutoane will be showcasing in Boston is about teaching Biblical Hebrew in Africa, and more specifically, pronouns, to Sesotho-speaking students.

“SBL is one of the largest organisations in the world and if you get the opportunity to present a paper there, it is one of the highest honours in our context you can have,” Dr Makutoane said.

“If the SBL has acknowledged you, it means the research you are doing is solid. There are people out there who want to listen to my paper.”

According to the SBL website ( more than 1 200 academic sessions and workshops will take place at the conference, co-hosted by the SBL and the American Academy of Religion.

Highlight of researcher’s entire career
Receiving the grant and attending the conference for the first time is the highlight of Dr Makutoane’s career. “I feel very grateful, honoured and humbled. I was speechless when I heard about it. I couldn’t help myself and actually cried,” he said.

The grant, given to only four SBL members – the other three are from Samoa, Nigeria and India – is intended to support under-represented and under-resourced scholars who demonstrate a financial need.

Dr Makutoane thanked his mentors, Prof Jacobus Naudé and Prof Cynthia Miller-Naudé, who assisted him with the application. Naudé is a senior professor at the Department of Hebrew and Miller-Naudé a senior professor and head of the department.

Dr Makutoane, who studied Theology at the UFS and is a minister at the NGKA Rehauhetswe church near Bloemfontein, is also grateful to his church that gave him the opportunity to study at the UFS and be able to work at the university.

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