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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

Politicians must push economic integration within SADC, Mboweni
2009-08-31

The outgoing Governor of the Reserve Bank, Mr Tito Mboweni (pictured), believes that for economic regional integration to be realized among the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, the political leadership of the region should play a pivotal role.

Mr Mboweni delivered the CR Swart Memorial Lecture, the oldest lecture at the University of the Free State, on the topic: “Seeking greater political and economic integration in Southern Africa in challenging and turbulent financial times”.

He said the necessary macro-economic convergence accords must be put in place for regional integration to take place.

These accords, he said, should be supported by prudent fiscal policies, financial balances among SADC countries, and the implementation of policies which will minimize market distortions.

“In the crafting of the macro-economic policies of the region we have to ensure that market certainty is maintained,” he said.

He said as governors of central banks in the region they have agreed that to achieve these objectives they first have to attain a free trade area.

“When the proposals were drafted the idea was that in 2008 we should have achieved a free trade area,” he explained. “Now we are behind in that regard, meaning that a free trade area has been formally and officially declared but the implementation thereof is behind schedule.”

Mr Mboweni said they were supposed to have a SADC-wide customs union in 2010, a SADC common market in 2015 and a monetary union in 2016.

“In order for us to move towards the regional integration agenda it is clear that there has to be a far greater intra-African trade than is the case now,” he said.

“In Southern Africa most of the trade is with South Africa and the other countries do not trade much with or amongst each other.”

He also said because the South African currency is legal tender in countries like Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, they have developed a comprehensive set of proposals with these countries to deal with this matter.

“Our proposals basically center on the creation of a common central bank for South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland which, if created, would form a good basis for the establishment of a SADC-wide central bank.”

He said the macro-economic convergence criteria will not help achieve regional integration without the region’s political will.

“There has to be a commitment by the political leadership in Southern Africa to do the basic things that need to be done for the development of the region,” he said.

“That is where the notion of a developmental state must come in in support of these regional integration initiatives. There is no gain in just shouting developmental state if the basic issues supportive of development are not done.”

Mr Mboweni will leave the Reserve Bank in November this year.


Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
31 August 2009

 

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