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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

Wayde runs 100 m personal best in Slovenia
2017-06-21

Description: Wayde runs 100 m personal best in Slovenia Tags: Wayde runs 100 m personal best in Slovenia

Wayde van Niekerk is in great form leading up to the
World Championships in London in August.
Photo: Charl Devenish

“This also bodes well for my two main distances." This is what Wayde van Niekerk said according to www.iaaf.org, after running a personal best time of 9.94 in the 100 m in Velenje, Slovenia, on 20 June 2017. The Kovsie athlete improved his previous best by 0.04 seconds at the 22nd International Athletics Meeting.

Van Niekerk was referring to the other distances in which he excels – the 200 m and 400 m. The 400 m world record-holder said he was pleased with his latest run: "It's my best time and I'm glad the competition ended the way I wanted it to.”

National 200 m record and world’s fastest in 2017
His feat in the 100 m was his latest success, as he recently became the national record-holder in the 200 m again, and also the fastest man on the planet in this distance in 2017. After he ran a 19.90, the world’s fastest this year, when he won the South African title in Potchefstroom in April, the American Christian Coleman (19.85) improved on that.

However, Van Niekerk ran a 19.84 in the 200 m at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston, Jamaica, on 11 June 2017. This was 0.06 seconds quicker than his personal best, and 0.03 seconds better than Anaso Jobodwana’s national record of 19.87.

Same pace a second time in a week
It was also the second time in a week that he ran a 19.84 in the 200 m. This after he did it on a temporary built track at the Boost Boston Games on 4 June 2017. The race was run on a straight street course and was therefore not officially recognised as a record.

He seems to be in good shape leading up to his attempt to run a double, his favourite 400 m and the 200 m, at the World Championships in London, England, in August.

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