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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

Three more Kovsie staff members involved in Olympic Games
2012-05-30

 

Dr Derik Coetzee
Photo: Supplied
30 May 2012

The South African men’s hockey team will practice on our Bloemfontein Campus from 28 May to 8 June 2012, and the team count on the assistance of three Kovsies to prepare them for the Olympic Games taking place in London later this year.  

Dr Derik Coetzee, senior lecturer in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science and Head of our High Performance Centre, has been appointed conditioning coach of the team. He will be assisted by Colleen Jones and Riaan Schoeman, also from this department.

The UFS team and Mr Gregg Clark, the team’s coach, will work out a periodisation programme for the team, which will continue until the hockey finals at the Olympic Games. The programme includes the correct exercises, volume, intensity and number of exercise sessions per week.

This is not the first time that Dr Coetzee has assisted sports teams to prepare for important events. In 2007, he was the conditioning coach of the Springbok rugby team that won the World Cup in France. He was also the conditioning coach of the under-21 Springbok team in 2002 that won the Junior World Cup Tournament. 

Dr Coetzee says it is a challenge to ensure that the team performs well at the Olympic Games. “The joy on the faces of the coach and players when they qualified in Japan cannot be described because many people thought they would not qualify.”

With the addition of Dr Coetzee, Ms Jones and Mr Schoeman, a total of six staff members from the UFS will be involved with the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. The other three are:

  • Dr Louis Holtzhausen, Head of the university’s Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, has been selected as team doctor for the more than 300 athletes that will represent South Africa at this year’s Olympic Games (in London).
  • Ms Ebeth Grobbelaar, Assistant Director of the South African Testing Laboratory for Prohibited Substances at the UFS, was invited to be involved in the Drugs Control Centre in the unit against prohibited substances which will test sportsmen and -women during the games.
  • Ms Hetsie Veitch, Head of the Unit for Students with Disabilities, has been invited to be a member of the Classification Panel at the final USA Paralympic athletics trials.

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