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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

Open Day attracts thousands
2012-05-02

 

Campus was abuzz with prospective students and their parents finding out what Kovsies has to offer.
Photo: Kaleidoscope Studios
1 May 2012

“It is easier to pass Grade 12 today because we don’t have a standard. However, at the University of the Free State, standards are important.”

This was Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS’ message when he addressed a packed Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus during this year’s Open Day.

“This university is the jewel of the country. Here at Kovsies we take academic standards seriously. You must know who you are in a place where academic standards are extremely important. Anyone can obtain a degree, but here you can get more than a degree. You get an education,” he said to the more than 5 000 learners and parents from across the country.

“It is not only important that you study here in South Africa, but also in other countries. That is why our students study all over the world. You must think out of your comfort zone, have a big heart, achieve great heights and show everyone that you are a Kovsie.

But, it is not all about studying – it is also about being human and reaching out to others. When you come to this university, you will also do other things that will make you proud of being a Kovsie.

Quality looks for quality. Therefore, work hard and study hard because you need to be at a good university,” he said.

The programme consisted of, among others, a spectacular laser show, a performance by Bobby van Jaarsveld and special messages from DW Bester and Sannah Mokone, Rhodes Scholars currently studying at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

In a pre-recorded message DW, a Ph.D. student in Mathematical Statistics, encouraged prospective students to work hard and persevere. Sannah, doing a Master’s degree in African Studies, said she believes in the future of the African continent. “I believe in our future students and know you can make it.”

Prof. Jansen also introduced some of the university’s recent student achievers such as Jurie Swart, regional winner of the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Award; Farzana Samuel, named by the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) as the most outstanding student in quantity surveying for 2012; and Sibusiso Tshabalala, one of Google’s Top 10 Young Minds.

Richard Chemaly, President of the Central Student Representative Council (CSRC), said that, by coming to Kovsies, prospective students would become the best person they can be. “We have over 70 student organisations to help you take part in student life activities. So, make use of these opportunities,” he said.

The programme concluded with an introduction to the seven faculties by the respective deans.

The estimated 7 000 prospective students and their parents also had the opportunity to visit faculties and the stalls of residences.
 

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