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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

Meet our Council: Mr Rantooa Moji – passionate about the welfare of workers
2017-07-07

Description: Mr Rantooa Moji  Tags: Mr Rantooa Moji  

Mr Rantooa Moji, member of the UFS Council
Photo: Stephen Collett

Mr Rantooa Moji has recently joined the UFS Council by virtue of being chairperson of the university’s Institutional Forum (IF).  The IF’s function is to advise Council in accordance with the Higher Education Act and UFS Statute.
 
Born and bred in Qwaqwa, Mr Moji is a junior lecturer in Chemistry at the university.  He completed his BSc (Hons) in Chemistry at the then UNIN (Qwaqwa), which is now part of the UFS.  He also completed an MA (HES) at the University of the Free State.
 
Fascinated with Chemistry
“I pursued science mainly due to my school background, but I also have a keen interest in the subject.  The diverse applications of Chemistry in daily life have always fascinated me and that is why I chose to pursue it,” he says.
 
During his postgraduate studies at the UFS, Moji was exposed to education and management trends in higher education.  He has subsequently become involved with labour relations issues through the personnel union Nehawu.  He says he has a passion for the welfare of workers and therefore fulfils a number of roles in the union, including representing members in disciplinary and grievance hearings, being part of the negotiations team, and representing the union on a number of institutional committees, such as the Health Care Committee.
 
Passion for worker’s welfare
Says Mr Moji: “I feel that my experience as an academic and a union activist puts me in good stead to ensure that the views and aspirations of employees are taken into account in the Council’s deliberations and decision-making.”
 
Mr Moji is married, with two daughters and one son.

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