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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

UFS Faculty of Law and Department of Health join hands to combat modern day slavery
2012-10-03

At this event, were from the left: Dr Adri Krieger and Dr Mariaan Kotze. Both are from the Department of Health: Directorate Forensic Services. Far right is Dr Beatri Kruger from the Unit for Children's Rights and the Department of Criminal and Medical Law at the UFS.
4 October 2012

Research and court cases confirm that the trade in people is a reality in South Africa. According to Dr Beatri Kruger from the Unit for Children's Rights and the Department of Criminal and Medical Law at the University of the Free State (UFS), complex challenges are faced in combating human trafficking. One of these challenges is a lack of knowledge of this crime and the difficulty in identifying trafficked victims.

To address the lack of knowledge, a number of discussions took place between Dr Kruger and delegates from the Department of Health.

A project has been initiated to address this problem in the public health sector. A need to raise awareness and provide training to medical practitioners to better understand human trafficking was identified. The most important aim of this initiative is to empower medical staff, to identify trafficked victims that visit hospitals and clinics countrywide and to also treat them appropriately in light of the severe trauma they have often been exposed to. The initiative will also empower medical practitioners to refer patients to other service providers such as social workers and psychologists.

The talks with medical practitioners from the Department of Health have led to training and awareness raising that will be provided at some of the local hospitals before the end of the year. Further training seminars are planned for medical practitioners, which will include a presentation by Dr Kruger on legal issues that are relevant for staff in the public health sector. The multidisciplinary cooperation that was established between representatives from the UFS Faculty of Law and the Department of Health has contributed substantially to a more effective response to human trafficking in South Africa.
 

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