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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

Kovsies queue to know their HIV status
2012-05-12

 

Kovsie staff member Alzena Brink was one of the thousands who were tested for HIV during the “First Things First” HIV testing campaign.

Photo: Amanda Tongha

Thousands of students and staff from the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses made use of testing booths to determine their HIV status last week. Testing booths were set up on the two campuses as part of an HIV testing campaign.

The “First Things First” HIV testing campaign kicked off on the Bloemfontein Campus on Monday 16 April 2012 with students and staff queuing to find out their HIV status. The Qwaqwa Campus started their campaign on Wednesday 17 April 2012. The South Campus started its campaign on 24 April 2012.

The testing campaign is a national initiative and forms part of the Higher Education HIV/Aids Programme run by Higher Education South Africa (HESA).

Tarryn Nell, HIV Prevention Programme Officer at the university’s HIV/Aids Office, said close to 2 000 Kovsies were tested for HIV last week. “We hope to continue to test, making knowing your status a norm and part of culture.”
- Amanda Tongha
 

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