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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

An incident-free recess for the UFS
2010-07-19

The improved security measures at the University of the Free State (UFS) have resulted in an incident-free recess on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the annual Volksblad Arts Festival.

The UFS provided accommodation for international spectators visiting the country for the World Cup and recently also hosted the hugely popular Volksblad Arts Festival without any security glitches.

These successes could be attributed to the hard work of staff members from various divisions at the UFS to ensure that the security was improved.

“The main question we had to deal with was: should our Main Campus be fenced off? This matter had been under discussion for quite some time. In order to ensure the feasibility thereof, a second impact study was done by a consulting engineer,” said Prof. Niel Viljoen, Vice-Rector: Operations at the UFS.

“This study has shown that, given the nature of activities on the campus and the access configuration, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to effectively control access to the campus, especially as far as visitors were concerned. Any type of access control measure would result in delays at the gates, which could have a major impact on the traffic flow, delays, costs and emissions.”

“It is important that our staff and students feel safe on the Main Campus, whether they are walking on campus or working in their offices. In that way we can ensure an environment that is conducive to staff and students to work and study,” he said.

Various measures are being implemented to make the campuses safer. These include, among others:

  • The installation of alarms in buildings on the Main Campus. The project for the South Campus has been completed and the installation of a new alarm system on the Qwaqwa Campus will start soon.

     
  • Staff and students will be required to wear identification cards once the new identification system has been put in place. These cards will allow access to all buildings.

     
  • Fences around the Main Campus are being repaired and the areas around these fences are being cleaned. This project should be completed by August 2010.

     
  • Lights will be installed in badly lit areas on the Main Campus. The first phase of this project includes the area between the Mooimeisiesfontein, Welwitschia and Vergeet-my-nie residences. This project will also be completed by August 2010.

     
  • The walkways on the Main Campus will be patrolled more frequently and effectively.

     
  • Contracted security workers will be utilised more effectively.

     
  • The monitoring of security cameras on the Main Campus on a 24/7 basis. “For this purpose the security room of our Protection Services is in the process of being upgraded,” said Prof. Viljoen.

The possibility of placing security cameras and panic buttons in parking areas and walkways is investigated.

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

 

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