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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

National Arts Council opens doors for students in Drama and Theatre Arts
2017-06-29

Description: National Arts Council opens doors for students  Tags: National Arts Council opens doors for students

Four postgraduate students from the University of the
Free State received bursaries from the National Arts
Council this year. They are, from the left: Gerrit Fourie,
Maryn Hattingh, Prof Pieter Venter, Programme Director
of drama at the UFS, Stella Nortier, and Franco de Wet. 
Photo: Esté Strydom

Thanks to bursaries from the National Arts Council (NAC), many students are finding it easier to study Drama and Theatre Arts, the discipline is able to offer more job opportunities, and it provides an opportunity to those who probably would never have had the chance. This is according to Prof Nico Luwes, Head of the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of the Free State (UFS).

This year, several students from the UFS, including 12 undergraduates and four postgraduates, are again beneficiaries of NAC bursaries to the value of roughly R206 000 – about R150 000 of which will be used for undergraduate studies and R56 000 for postgraduate studies. The UFS was awarded the same amount for undergraduate students in the previous year, but didn’t then receive NAC bursaries for postgraduate studies.

Good relationship with NAC over many years
The UFS has received NAC bursaries since 2005, and Prof Luwes says the university’s good relationship with the council runs over many years. “They are very happy with the feedback on our students’ achievements,” he says.

“Although Dramatic Arts is a matric subject, the provincial department of education does not support students with education bursaries for this subject. With bursaries from the National Arts Council, students can thus study to become theatre artists, and work as teachers for the Dramatic Arts in schools.”

Alumni stand out in entertainment industry
Prof Luwes says his department provides students the opportunity to do performances and practical exams in English, Afrikaans, and Sesotho. This is done to give all students an equal opportunity to excel. “In addition, several of our alumni have achieved success in the entertainment industry, and our staff members often feature in professional performances at arts festivals.”

Undergraduate students who were awarded NAC bursaries:
•    Jolene Swartz
•    Boitumelo Mohutsioa
•    René Lombard
•    Mandisa Wiso
•    Thapelo Mabona
•    Charlize Oberholster
•    Thembisile Baai
•    Naledi Maolusi
•    Mbuyiselo Nqodi
•    Vuyiswa Mxasa
•    Deandi Scholtz
•    Dylan Britz

Postgraduate students who were awarded NAC bursaries:

•    Gerrit Fourie
•    Maryn Hattingh
•    Stella Nortier
•    Franco de Wet

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