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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

Almost there…
2012-11-12

First-year students Lindokuhle Sibisi, Zamokuhle Zule and Tabisa Tandathu are looking forward to start their vacation. The last date for exams is 17 November 2012 and students writing the additional opportunity exams will still be on our Campuses until 8 December.
Photo: Amanda Tongha
12 November 2012

The Year-end exams will come to an end this week, with more Kovsie students returning home to start their vacation. The final date for exams is 17 November 2012. Students who were unable to write at the first opportunity due to illness or other obligations, as well as those wanting to improve their marks, will have another opportunity with the supplementary opportunity exams starting on 26 November 2012. The final date for these exams is 8 December 2012.

Ian Hartley, a third-year student in Social Sciences, is one of the students who are still on the Bloemfontein Campus. Ian writes his final paper on Friday and says he is looking forward to the holidays. He will leave for Port Elizabeth in December to attend the South African Universities’ cricket tournament.

Ntheboheng Mopeli is also still on Campus. The third-year LLB student will write her two final papers this week.

Tabisa Tandathu, a first-year BSc student, wrote her final paper this week and will still be on Campus for another week before returning to her home town in the Eastern Cape. “I look forward to spending time with my family.”
 

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