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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

Prof. Jansen meets the community
2012-05-16

 

Prof. Jansen listens attentively to Mr Teboho Moloi, who represented the Harrismith Business Forum at the community meeting where the UFS vision was shared.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

16 May 2012

We are very proud of our academic achievements, but without the human element, these achievements are not worth anything. This is according to Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, who attended a meeting with the Thabo Mofutsanyana community in the Eastern Free State.

Prof. Jansen made the community aware that the university has two very important and interlinked projects – the academic and human projects.

“Our university has ambitions to produce the best scholars in various fields, but this cannot be done if we neglect the human aspect of doing things in the right way. We want to produce academic giants as much as we want to produce graduates of life,” said Prof. Jansen to an audience that included representatives from the traditional councils, business, religious and farming communities as well as the Maluti-A-Phofung and Dihlabeng Local Municipalities.

Prof. Jansen said that the memorandum of understanding that the university signed with the Dihlabeng Local Municipality in 2010 was already yielding positive results.

“There has been an enormous improvement in the matric results of the Dihlabeng schools that are part of our efforts to contribute towards building a brighter future for our children. We want to thank the municipality and the Honourable Mayor Tjhetane Mofokeng for being part of this partnership,” added Prof. Jansen.
 
“We are grateful that the university is considerate of its stakeholders in developing this Maluti-A-Phofung area. I am also aware that this institution has contributed towards the building of a crèche in the Mabolela village in Qwaqwa and for this we are very happy,” said Ms Linah Mnisi from Motlotlwane Projects and Consultants.
 

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