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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 Safety Awareness March set to create a safe space for students
2017-07-27

 Description: Suspicious behavior Tags: safety, campaign, SRC, communication, awareness


The University of the Free State (UFS), in collaboration with various stakeholders, has dedicated the week of 24 to 28 July 2017 to creating awareness for the safety of students on and around its campuses.

UFS and CUT unite for safety
The highlight of the week will be on Thursday 27 July 2017 when a safety awareness march will take place from the Main Building on the Bloemfontein Campus to the Bram Fischer Building, where a memorandum will be handed over to Mr Sam Mashinini, MEC for Police, Roads, and Transport in the Free State. The march is a partnership between the UFS Student Representative Council (SRC) and the Central University of Technology (CUT).

 During a meeting on 24 July 2017, the Executive Committee of Senate granted formal approval for students and staff of the Bloemfontein Campus to take part in the safety march on 27 July 2017. For this reason, all lectures will be suspended from 11:00 to 13:00 on 27 July 2017 in order to give the campus community the opportunity to participate in the march. Academic staff, as well as staff in the administrative support services, are encouraged to join the march.

Programme for the safety march:


11:00: Marchers gather in front of the Main Building

11:15: Marchers depart from the Main Building to the Main Gate

11:30: Marchers exit the Main Gate and move towards the Central University of Technology (CUT). Students and staff who are unable to participate in the rest of the march, return to their work places or classes.

12:20: UFS and CUT marchers will gather at the Bram Fischer Building, situated on the corner of Nelson Mandela Avenue and Markgraaff Street. Here, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof Francis Petersen, and the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of CUT, Prof Henk de Jager, will address the marchers, after which the memorandum will be read by the respective SRC Presidents and handed to Mr Mashinini.

Activities underway to raise safety awareness
During the week, the Student Representative Council (SRC), together with other stakeholders, have been involved in several activities on and off the Bloemfontein Campus, including door-to-door visits to student homes and residences on and around campus, awareness campaigns at all the gates of the campus, and a Safety Dialogue that will be held on Wednesday 26 July 2017 at the Equitas Auditorium. The aim of the Safety Week is to focus on informing, educating, and encouraging students as well as the Mangaung community at large, in order to work together in creating a safe environment for students.

The week started with the roll-out of an awareness campaign titled Reach Out, which is set to bring students and the community of Mangaung together to help decrease the number of violent crimes faced by students off campus. The communication plan includes safety messages, using outdoor billboards, posters on lampposts around the residential student areas, local community radio stations, campus media, and the university’s social media platforms.

A similar student safety awareness campaign will take place on the university’s Qwaqwa Campus during the week of 31 July 2017.



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