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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: Passionate, progressive, and positive – Councillor Itumeleng Pooe
2017-07-13

Description: Itumeleng Pooe Tags: Itumeleng Pooe.  University Council, ambitiously entrepreneurial, progressive university, passionate about life 

Itumeleng Pooe, member of the UFS Council.
Photo: Johan Roux

Passionate, progressive, and unfailingly positive are the words coming to mind when one meets Itumeleng Pooe.  

Itumeleng was appointed to the University Council by the Minister of Education last year.  She is an alumna of North-West University and served as council member and deputy chair of the NWU Council from 2007 until 2014.  She also serves on the board of the Cape Town Hotel School.

Sees UFS as a very progressive university in the higher-education landscape

She is currently employed by the South African Maritime Agency, working at developing integrated national marine tourism and leisure.  In her own words, she is “ambitiously entrepreneurial” and also sells wine privately, working towards distributing amazing and exquisite South African wine in Africa.  

Itumeleng views the UFS as a very progressive university and a rising giant in the higher-education landscape in South Africa.

“I take my role as council member very seriously. I hope to use my marketing and communication expertise to propel the university’s brand as one of the most special places to study in Africa.  Internationalisation is also imperative and I believe I have a lot to offer in this regard,” she says.

Believes that transformation should be at the core of the university’s business
She also feels that transformation should be at the core of the university’s business and that it should remain ongoing.

Itumeleng is a very proud mother to two young adults; Kamogelo is a UCT BCom (Accounting) graduate and Kago studies digital marketing at Vega in Cape Town.

“I am an ardent hiker, reader, perpetual traveller and lover of exotic destinations, and aspiring cook. Honestly? I am just passionate about life,” she says.

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