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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 academics present papers at major conference
2009-07-23

 
Pictured from the left are: Prof Neethling, Prof Edna van Harte (Dean of the Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University), Dr Thomas Mandrup (from the Royal Danish Defence College and co-organiser of the conference), and Prof Heidi Hudson.
Photo: Supplied


Prof Theo Neethling from the Department of Political Science was recently invited to address a conference on the theoretical basis for states’ use of military instruments of force and scholarly progress in the understanding of armed conflict in Africa held at Stellenbosch University (SU) on 11 and 12 June 2009. This conference, themed Strategic Theory and Contemporary Africa Conflicts, was presented by the Faculty of Military Science of SU in collaboration with the Faculty of Military and Strategic Studies of the Royal Danish Defence College in Copenhagen. The conference was premised on the point that the way in which states choose to become involved in, orchestrate or oppose armed conflicts in terms of peace intervention action, normally originates from theoretical thinking well-grounded in a national strategy. This was the first conference in South Africa that focused on the nature of such a national strategy, but also on how the incidence of recent armed conflicts in Africa could be explained in terms of this theoretical thinking. In view of this Prof Neethling’s paper was titled, “UN peacekeeping operations in Africa: Reflections on developments, trends and the way forward”. His paper focused on recent and current UN peacekeeping operations with special reference to multinational challenges in the African context.


Prof. Heidi Hudson from the Centre for African Studies also attended the conference in Stellenbosch on Strategic Theory and Contemporary Africa Conflicts. In addition she was invited to present a paper at the Peacekeeping Africa 2009 conference held on 24 and 25 June 2009 at Gallagher Estate, Midrand. The event brings together individuals who are experts in defence, peacekeeping, policing, foreign service and other government bodies to share knowledge and to discuss the latest developments. This year’s conference was attended by more than 100 experts from all over Africa, with strong representation from the UN and the International Red Cross. Prof. Hudson’s paper was entitled “Peacebuilding through a gender lens”. Her presentation examined lessons learnt with regard to implementation of a gender perspective in Côte d’Ivoire and Rwanda. These case studies point towards an empirical link between women’s inclusion in peace processes and the quality of peace finally achieved. Prof. Hudson warned that inattention to the differential needs of both women and men during conflict and in the post-conflict reconstruction phase may perpetuate the violence discourses which sustained the conflict in the first place.

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