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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

Making a difference is the most important thing for Gary Kirsten
2012-05-16

 

Gary Kirsten
16 May 2012

“Can I make a difference in someone’s life?” This was the central driving force for Gary Kirsten, head coach of the 2011 World Cup winning Indian cricket team. He currently coaches the Proteas.

Gary was the first guest speaker at a new series of lectures at our Business School. Challenges and solutions in management will be highlighted in the series. In his lecture, Gary was interviewed by Prof. Johann Coetzee, Extraordinary Professor at the Business School. The audience got a glimpse of the person often seen on television screens and they travelled with him from his childhood days at the Newlands Cricket Ground to his days in New Delhi as head coach of the Indian team.

His challenge in India was to develop a new culture in a team with very valuable and expensive brands. His light-bulb moment occurred on a team-building visit to Australia. His question to the team was what he could do for them and what they would expect from him. The turning point was Sachin Tendulkar’s answer: I would like you to be my friend. Tendulkar’s wife’s comment on the winning night was the proof of his success. She said: “The last three years were the happiest in my husband’s life.”

Gary said it was an incredible privilege to make a difference in people’s lives. “I wake up asking myself where I can make a difference in someone’s life. You must create an environment for people to enjoy the game, challenge one another and thrive.”

He is confident that the Protea team has the potential to be a great cricket team. He said the upcoming England tour is a test. “This tour will test us to be the top team in the following years. I would like to set them up for the best chance to win.”

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