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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 academics to present papers at Conference on Calvin Research
2010-07-05

Prof. Dolf Britz, Director: Jonathan Edwards Center Africa at the UFS, will be one of three UFS keynote speakers at the 10th International Congress on Calvin Research.
Photo: Provided


Three scholars from the University of the Free State (UFS) were invited to participate as keynote speakers at the 10th International Conference on Calvin Research that will be hosted by the UFS from 22-27 August 2010. 

“Hosting this conference is seen as an exceptional achievement since the conference represents an international, high-profiled and specialised research community where invitation to present research results is based on proven academic outputs, innovation and original research,” said Prof. Dolf Britz, Director: Jonathan Edwards Center Africa at the UFS. Prof. Britz will, as keynote speaker, present a paper on Calvin's exposition of a Biblical text that played a significant role in the ‘Freedom Struggle’ in South Africa.

The programme for the Conference on Calvin Research also provides for two workshops specially designed for postgraduate students. This will be facilitated by international scholars and the focus will be on research methodology and the academic competencies to write a dissertation.

A student from the UFS, Rev. Ntabanyane Tseuao, was selected to present a short paper at the conference. He is one of three postgraduate students who are from the Theological University Apeldoorn in the Netherlands and the University of Tübingen in Germany, respectively.

Prof. Erik de Boer, an Extraordinary Professor and Research Fellow at the UFS and Mr Eric Kayayan, a Research Fellow at the UFS, will also be keynote speakers at the conference.

Two other academics from the UFS, Prof. Adriaan Neele, an Extraordinary Professor and Research Fellow and Dr Victor d’Assonville, a Research Fellow, will also present papers.

The participation of these academics in the conference is the result of an initiative that started eight years ago to cluster South African research on Classical and Reformation Theology at the University of the Free State. - Leonie Bolleurs

 

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