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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

Kovsie-Alumni Trust provides financial support to gifted young persons
2009-07-08

 
Kovsie-Alumni Trust of the University of the Free State (UFS) provides financial support to gifted young persons. This year, the Trust has already granted R24 000 to students with disabilities and R28 500 to ad hoc applications for financial support. Amongst others, financial support of R224 888 was given to students from the Alumni Donation Funds. The contributions of generous donators to the Trust Fund are used to award academic, cultural and sport bursaries to deserving prospective as well as current Kovsie students. Here are, from the left: PK Nkate, a blind honours student in Business Management, who received R6 000 from the Trust, Ralph de Kramer, who received R3 500 for his ad hoc application; back: Adv Seef Hefer, Chairperson of the Trust, Ms Francis Hoexter, member of the Trust, Leendert Kramer, who received R60000 for his ad hoc application and Mr Ryno Opperman, member of the Trust. Other bursaries were awarded to Eleanor Bernard and Nandi Venter, Master’s students from the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, French and German, who each received half of the NNP bursaries with the total value of R20 000 and Magteld Smith, a blind Ph.D. student in BA to whom the Sapcor Bursary was awarded. Carien Gordon, Geoff Bezuidenhout and Ilana van der Merwe received R6 000, R3 500 and R3 500 respectively, according to their ad hoc applications.
Photo: Dries Myburgh

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