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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

Babies need time on their tummies
2009-08-07

 
Babies who spend more time on their tummies (in the prone position) when they are awake are more advanced in their motor development than children who are not allowed to lie on their tummies, or only for short periods, shows research published by Ms Dorothy Russell in the South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. Ms Russell is a senior occupational therapist in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health in the Faculty of Heath Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS). The study shows there were significant differences in the active movements of the arms and the pushing-up on the arms between prone and non-prone infants.

She says research and clinical evidence indicate that parents are not well educated regarding the value of placing their infants in the prone position during the early stages of infancy. The supine position where babies lie on the backs, leads to a decrease in the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and mothers steer away of putting their babies in the prone position because of that. However, lack of exposure to prone position can result in deceased opportunities to learn functions such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and pulling to the standing position.
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar

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