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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

Graduates should make a difference as leaders and be agents of change
2017-06-22

Description: Mid-year graduation read more 22 June 2017 Tags: Mid-year graduation read more 22 June 2017

More than 5 000 degrees will be conferred over six days
and eleven ceremonies at the UFS mid-year graduation
ceremonies.
Photo: Johan Roux

Livestream of Graduation Ceremonies

“Make the choice to make a difference as the leaders of the future.” These words of Dr Susan Vosloo, Cardiothoracic Surgeon and member of the University of the Free State (UFS) Council, echoed the call to graduates on the first three days of the UFS mid-year graduation ceremonies. The ceremonies are taking place in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus from 19 to 26 June 2017.

Dr Vosloo, also an alumna of the UFS, was one of six guest speakers at the biggest set of graduation ceremonies in the university’s history. A spirit of excitement is part of the festivities, as a total of 5 258 degrees will be conferred over six days in eleven ceremonies. The graduation week will conclude on 26 June 2017, when 460 master’s and doctoral degrees will be conferred – 72 of these are doctoral degrees.

Stand up and be counted
Dr Vosloo urged the graduands at the afternoon session on 19 June 2017 to stand up and be counted. “What we need are leaders who treasure integrity, dignity, accountability, transparency, and who will focus on the common challenges which we all face today.”

Dr Khotso Mokhele, UFS Chancellor, also encouraged the graduates to be agents of change who shouldn’t conform to the current system. “Decide that it is your country and that you will decide what it should be. Then it will not be the corrupt experiment which the current government turned it into. We wish you well. Go and be the agents of transformation.”

Ambassadors of the UFS
Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, asked the graduates to make a contribution: “Be excellent ambassadors of the UFS, and make the UFS, your families, and our country proud by your strong, innovative, ethical, and excellent contributions.” He was the guest speaker during the morning and afternoon sessions on 20 June 2017.

He also said that they should never forget the supporting role others played in their success, whatever form it took.

Do it for those who fought for SA
Justice Connie Mocumie, Judge of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal, encouraged the graduates to go out and contribute to the development of the country. She was the guest speaker at the morning and afternoon ceremonies on 21 June 2017.

“It is important for you to continue being experts in your area of expertise,” she said.

“Today is the beginning of better days to come. Do it for the legacy of those who fought for our country in pursuit of a better South Africa.”

Dipiloane Phutsisi, Principal and Chief Executive Officer of the Motheo TVET College in the Free State, said everyone is destined for greatness. “In the words of Dr Martin Luther King: Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” She was the guest speaker at the morning session on 19 June 2017.

Click here to see a list of Deans’ and Senate medals awarded.

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