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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 responds to revocation of the accreditation of the SA Doping Control Laboratory by WADA
2017-07-01

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) yesterday informed the South African Doping Control Laboratory (SADoCoL) at the University of the Free State (UFS) that the WADA accreditation status of the laboratory has been revoked.

This revocation does, however, not include the analysis of blood samples for the Athlete Biological Passport for which SADoCoL has been re-accredited in August 2016 and which the laboratory will continue to perform. It also does not impact at all on the testing of urine sport samples by the South African Institute of Drug-free Sport (SAIDS), who will continue to send such samples for testing to other WADA accredited laboratories, while blood samples will be tested at SADoCoL as before.

The revocation follows a year long period of suspension in which the laboratory had to develop its analytical capabilities and instate new systems and methodologies.  “In this period the laboratory worked diligently to realize all of these requirements and according to an inspection team from the WADA Laboratory Expert Group who visited the laboratory in February 2017, much has been done and the Laboratory is in a much better state than it was before the suspension in May 2016,” says prof Marthinus van der Merwe, Director of SADoCoL.

“However, there were certain aspects of these requirements that the laboratory could not achieve within the time-frame stipulated by WADA and therefore the organisation is bound by its rules and regulations to now revoke the accreditation status of the laboratory. Since much effort and resources have been invested in the laboratory in the last two years, the management of SADoCoL together with senior leadership of the UFS decided to go ahead and finalise all development in order to re-apply for WADA accreditation,” says prof van der Merwe. 

“The UFS fully acknowledges the hard work of SADoCoL during the period of development and is committed to support the laboratory in its endeavors to re-attain its status within the very specialised and highly regulated community of world-wide doping control laboratories.  The premium goal of the laboratory is still to fully serve the sporting community of South Africa and Africa according to the WADA guidelines for anti-doping control in Sport and it is confident to attain that with the support of all role players in this field,” says Prof Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research at the UFS.

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
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