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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

Faculty of Law converses with international students
2009-08-12

 
Pictured here are Emma Finney (left) and Lauren Nydam.
Photo: Stephen Collett
The Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently hosted two law students completing the practical leg of the Blackstone Legal Fellowship Programme. At this occasion, Lauren Nydam (B.Sc. in Engineering at Duke University School of Law), and Emma Finney (B.A. in History at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law) presented their research.

This annual initiative by the Faculty of Law entails that the students work on a given research topic on legal matters under the supervision of academics, in this case, under the supervision of Prof. Shaun de Freitas, Head of the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law and Prof. Andries Raath, Senior Professor in this department.

This programme, run by the Alliance Defence Fund (ADF) in the United States of America (USA), is aimed at teaching Christian law students the importance of religious freedom and rights.

This year, the programme (which has been running for 10 years) accommodates 109 students, representing Schools of Law in the USA, including Harvard, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Notre Dame and Virginia. To date, 700 students have completed the programme. Currently there are students of the programme in Canada, England, France, Bulgaria and Italy.

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