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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

Eusibius McKaiser gives first talk on new book at Kovsies
2012-05-09

 

Eusibius McKaiser
Photo: Johan Roux
9 May 2012

Students and staff from our university got the first glimpse of political and social commentator Eusibius McKaiser’s new book, There is a Bantu in my bathroom, during a public lecture of the same title held by the author on the Bloemfontein Campus.

McKaiser told the audience that they were amongst the first people to get a preview of his book, a collection of essays on race, sexuality and politics.

His talk centred on domestic race relationships, posing the question whether it was acceptable to have racial preferences with regard to whom you live with. Recounting an incident he encountered while looking for a flat in Sandton, McKaiser said the country was still many kilometres away from the end-goal of non-racialism.

McKaiser, who hosted a weekly politics and morality show on Talk Radio 702, and is a weekly contributor to The New York Times, said the litmus test for non-racialism in South Africa was not what people utter in a public space, but rather what was said in private.

“We need to talk more about the domestic space. In public, we are very insincere and quick to preach non-racialism.”

Recounting conversations he had with Talk Radio 702 listeners on the incident, McKaiser said that preference about whom you live with was not specific to white people’s attitude. He said many of his black listeners also felt uncomfortable living with a white person. “The question is, ‘What do these preferences say about you? What does it say about where we are as a country and people’s commitment to non-racialism?’”

McKaiser was the guest of the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice.
 

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