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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

School dropouts are more vulnerable to HIV
2010-02-02

 Prof. Dennis Francis

Children who drop out of school miss out on information about HIV/Aids and reproduction health, according to research conducted by Prof. Dennis Francis, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State.

The research entitled “Towards understanding the way out-of-school youth respond to HIV/Aids” included out-of-school youths as researchers and identified key issues and problems facing them. It covered youths between the ages of 14 to 18.

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council of South Africa, showed that schools played a vital role in providing credible information on HIV/Aids and ways to prevent it.

It also found that these out-of-school youths believed that HIV/Aids was a non-issue and deliberately avoided the subject, with boys being the main culprits.

The researchers found that these youths got their information on HIV/Aids from friends, community healthcare workers, religious leaders, family and other youngsters. The way they responded to HIV/Aids varied and often depended on their social context, effects on their self esteem and sense of power, according to Prof. Francis.

They also discovered that knowledge about HIV/Aids did not necessarily translate into action.

“School-going youth displayed similar difficulties in applying knowledge in real-life situations and lacked the tools for doing so,” he said. “But, unlike school-going youth, out-of-school youth did not have the option of using the school environment to speak about misconceptions.”

These finding will be presented at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation-funded Hope 2010 Conference in India.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
2 February 2010

 

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