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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

World renowned cardiothoracic surgeons convene at UFS
2010-03-14

World-renowned cardiothoracic surgeons from around the world will be the guests of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of the Free State (UFS) when a workshop for cardiothoracic surgeons is presented at the UFS Faculty of Health from Monday, 15 March to Wednesday, 17 March 2010.

The workshop is presented by the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS), which focuses on development and training in Africa.

Prof. Francis Smit, Head of the UFS Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and also member of the international cooperation committee of EACTS, says EACTS have selected the UFS, and specifically Bloemfontein, to be the site for their African Training and Education outreach. “We are extremely honoured by this after working at it for more than four years.”

Seven world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeons, including three former presidents of EACTS, will present the training courses in Bloemfontein from 15-17 March 2010. These surgeons are from the United States of America, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Scotland.

The European Cardiovascular Technologists are sending a perfusionist as well to present a perfusion workshop on Wednesday, 17 March 2010. The last day will be devoted to advanced surgical techniques.

The programme consists of a two-day scientific course that addresses research issues. All the invited speakers are well-known and established researchers. They all have been editors/editorial staff members of major international journals.

Prof. Smit says, “The knowledge transfer to South African surgeons can be phenomenal. Young and established surgeons can also meet the experts and improve their skills in conducting and successfully publish results.”

More than a hundred participants are expected for the workshops of the first two days, of which forty from abroad. The last day would be open registration and more than 150 people are expected.

Prof. Smit says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to educate, stimulate and teach surgeons in South Africa. It will add to their knowledge base and introduce them to high quality research methodology that will certainly have an impact on our research output. Hopefully this will be a bi-annual event where we can teach our academic community at a very focused and high level supported by EACTS.”

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

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