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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

Business School in top ranks of survey
2012-02-15

 
UFS Business School
Photo: Liezl Muller

The UFS Business School was ranked amongst the top business schools in South Africa in a survey by Finweek and MBAConnect.net. MBAConnect.net is the biggest social network for MBA graduates in South Africa. 

More than 10 000 MBA graduates and students were invited to take part in the survey and 1 575 of them completed it. More than half of the respondents are in senior or executive positions.
 
Prof. Helena van Zyl, the Director of the UFS Business School, says any business school has a moral obligation towards its alumni to ensure that the quality of the qualification that they obtained is maintained, that network opportunities are created for graduates, and that job opportunities are communicated, etc. Investment in and involvement with the alumni are non-negotiable as they form the backbone of a business school.
 
The UFS Business School’s results are listed below. The respondents rated the school as the school with the highest:
  • percentage of respondents saying they had definitely made the right choice in doing an MBA: second with 92% (average 86%)
  • score in leadership effectiveness: third with 8.9 (average 8.7)
  • decision-making effectiveness: shares first place with 9.4 (average 9.1)
  • credibility in business: second with 8.9 (average 8.6)
  • impact of an MBA in changing industries: third with 8.3 (average 7.9)
  • score for influence of an MBA in starting your own business: second with 8.5 (average 6.9)
  • percentage of respondents saying an MBA was definitely worth the price paid: shares first place with 80% (average 72%)
  • score for changing the outlook of students: shares first place with 9.3 (average 8.9)
  • score for improving people’s views of their own potential: shares first place with 9.5 (average 9.1)
  • score for helping people become better leaders in their personal lives: shares third place with 8.3 (average 7.8).
The UFS Business School shared first place with its alumni averaging the shortest payback period amongst those who thought the MBA was worth it. Its score was 1.1 years (average 1.8 years)
 
The report says across all schools, at least 73% of students report a negative impact on their stress levels. In the worst case, this goes up to 94%. The impact on the UFS’s students was the lowest at 18%. The average was 81%. At least a quarter of students in all schools report a negative impact on their health, and it goes up to 47% in the worst case. The UFS got 0 (nil) in the category for serious impact.
 
Alumni of the UFS Business School were very satisfied with the school. These results are as follows:
  • Helps keep business knowledge up to date: third (6.5)
  • Provides networking opportunities: first (7.3)
  • Informs about business events: second (8.9)
  • Communicates regularly: first (9.2)
  • Helps access MBA-level jobs: second (6.2)
  • Helps build personal brand: first (5.2)
  • Helps start or grow business: first (5.2)
 

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