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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 appoints top academic
2010-05-13

 
Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo


The University of the Free State (UFS) has acquired the services of a well-known political analyst, Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo, as a Senior Professor in the university’s Centre for Africa Studies (CAS).

Prof. Kondlo, who worked for the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) prior to this permanent appointment, is an accomplished researcher and a well-heeled scholar in issues of transitional democracies, governance and social justice.

“I joined this university particularly because of its difficult history and what I have observed to be a sincere orientation to transform,” he said.

“I think that under the leadership of Prof. Jonathan Jansen (Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS) and his team we are going to see a very interesting rebirth of the University of the Free State. And some of us who believe in ideas of reconciliation in negotiated democracies as part of nation formation actually feel we should throw the best we have into the transformation process and support this great guy.”

“I see my appointment as part of the excellence aspect of the transformation journey because the UFS, even though it does good work in certain areas, is not highly rated in terms of academic excellence and publications. That is why I was glad to be appointed to make a humble contribution,” he said.

“I think it is going to be useful to the UFS to have more people of high academic standing because the idea to improve scholarship is very central and of course shifts the focus to scholarly discourse. Let scholarly excellence reclaim the centre of the debate as the leadership deal with legacy issues and genuine transformation.”

“Let us see academics from this institution stand up to articulate key issues that are relevant to state formations and transformation in the country. Let us debate our role as academics in supporting the consolidation of our young democracy”

Prof. Kondlo sees his key role within the CAS as improving research output.

“In other words, I see myself as leading the way in the generation of journal articles, books and also national and international seminars,” he explained.

He said a lot of work still needed to be done, though, to profile the CAS nationally and on the continent as it was still a new initiative and thus relatively unknown.

“We will need to be very innovative in terms of research initiatives and identification of research associates in order to profile the work of the Centre,” he said.

“I think the UFS will claim its seat in the greater African academic family by virtue of the quality of its products. We do not want to re-invent the wheel; we want to come up with products that are unique and in that way help this university to claim its rightful position within the greater African academic family.”

Prof. Kondlo has also worked for, amongst others, the Department of Land Affairs, the National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Chamber of Commerce, as well as being involved with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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

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