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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

UFS to accredit providers of Off-Campus Accommodation to students in Bloemfontein
2017-06-30

The University of the Free State (UFS) has embarked on a process to accredit off-campus accommodation service providers in Bloemfontein who provide accommodation to its students.

“The decision to accredit off-campus accommodation service providers comes from a concern from the university management about the safety of students and the conditions under which some of our students live in off-campus accommodation. Student accommodation is a significant aspect of the success of the UFS and consequently good quality accommodation is important for each individual student to be successful in his/her studies,” says Mr Quintin Koetaan, Senior Director: Housing and Residence Affairs at the UFS.

The accreditation process entails a list of primary requirements, drafted with the cognisance of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, in terms of off-campus accommodation to which private providers must adhere in order to be accredited by the university. The requirements are in line with the Policy on the Minimum Norms and Standards for Student Housing at Public Universities (Government Gazette 39238, dated 29 September 2015).

According to Koetaan, the norms and standards as set out in the policy establish the foundation and assessment criteria for such accreditation of service providers by the UFS. “It has become necessary for the UFS to have a policy on off-campus accommodation, in order to protect the rights and interests of our students and that of the university,” says Koetaan.

Some of the primary requirements for accreditation by the UFS include the number of students that may be accommodated in each room, the quality of kitchens and kitchenettes, the number of ablution facilities, the existence of common rooms and house rules, general maintenance and cleaning, compliance with  relevant national, regional, and municipal legislative requirements regulating health and safety, provision for adequate access to the facility/establishment in case of medical and/or psychological emergency assistance being required by students, and the provision for access to emergency electricity and water facilities. Off-campus private accommodation service providers must also be in possession of approved Municipal building plans of their student accommodation facilities, as well as evidence confirming their compliance with these plans.

“Landlords and agents are also advised to become more involved in their student homes and to ensure that their properties are in good condition and secure enough for students to live in,” says Koetaan.

Off-campus private accommodation service providers have until 31 July 2017 to apply for accreditation. More information and application documentation for accreditation can be obtained by sending an email to housing@ufs.ac.za

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

 

 

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