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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

New coach for Shimlas
2012-05-24

The University of the Free State (UFS) will soon fill a newly created position, namely that of Director of Rugby.

The successful candidate will, amongst others, be the head coach for the Shimla rugby team and will also be involved in the recruitment of young talent, the contracting of rugby players and certain obligations at the UFS/Cheetahs Rugby Academy.
 
This decision was taken during a joint brainstorming session between the university and the UFS Rugby Club about rugby at the university on Friday 18 May 2012. The performances of the Shimla team during the past Varsity Cup Series was also discussed. “The meeting took place in a good spirit and it is a hopeful sign to observe that the university is prepared to go out of its way to ensure that the Shimlas perform, particularly in the Varsity Cup”, said Mr Marius van Rensburg, Chairperson of the UFS Rugby Cup.
 
Mr Jaco Swanepoel, current Shimla coach, retains his position as Head Coach of Rugby at the UFS, as well as certain commitments to function more strongly within the junior rugby structures and to train coaches.
 
According to Mr Van Rensburg, the position will be advertised as quickly as possible. The successful candidate will also have to assume duty soon, because preparations for next year’s Varsity Cup have to commence around September this year.
 
“Shimlas is a high-profile is team with a proud history and a major role player in SA rugby; therefore we expect to receive good applications. The panel that has to make the appointment will, amongst others, consist of two former Shimla Springboks, a former Shimla/Cheetah player and a former Springbok conditioning trainer.
 
The restructuring of the management model of the UFS Rugby Club is also envisaged, which will also bring about certain changes to the club’s constitution.


Media Release
24 May 2012
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: +27(0)51 401 2584
Cell: +27(0)83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

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