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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 makes internet affordable for students
2009-08-25

 

 
From the beginning of September internet access for students of the University of the Free State (UFS) will be lowered drastically to make this important medium for students’ study (and student life) affordable.

Prof. Janse Tolmie, Director: Computer Services, says different tariffs will apply in three different time slot, of which the lowest will be 20c per megabyte (MB). At present students pay R1 per MB right through the day. Students already get 30 MB free every month from the UFS, but postgraduate students will have 50 MB available from now on.

In peak time (05:00-17:59) students will pay 70c per MB, 50c in off-peak time (18:00-21:59) and just 20c per MB in discount time from 22:00 to 04:59. The new tariff structure will encourage students to use the internet in the evenings and reduce the pressure on the UFS network by doing so.

The provision of internet access is a high priority with the UFS. Each of the 18 residences is equipped with internet access points in every room. There are more than 3 000 network points in the residences and 1 300 in the general computer labs on campus.

Students have access to social networks like Face Book and Twitter from 17:00 daily.

Prof. Tolmie says the new structure will encourage students to use the internet in the evenings and reduce the pressure on the UFS network in such a way. 
Photo: Supplied

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