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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

Kovsie students attend African leadership conference in Stellenbosch
2012-11-26

The proud Kovsie students that will attend the Africa Leads 2012 conference in Stellenbosch.
Photo: Alzane Narrain
26 November 2012

Thirteen of our student leaders have been chosen to attend the Africa Leads 2012 conference in Stellenbosch. The conference takes place from 18 to 21 November at the Spier Wine Farm.

A small function was held on Thursday, 15 November, to celebrate this amazing achievement and wish the students all the best for their participation at the conference.

The thirteen students are: William Clayton (SRC President of the Bloemfontein Campus), Anesu Ruswa, Vusumzi Mesatywa, Lehlohonolo Mofokeng, Hannerie Hay, Tshepo Mabuya, Tumelo Moreri, Lerato Molisana, Goodwill Shelile, Moloi Josian, Kamohelo Mzangwa, Teboho Motloung, Nombulelo Mini.

The Africa Leads programme is a collaborative learning, research and engagement opportunity held by Stellenbosch University Business School in partnership with the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative and the University of Pretoria’s Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership.

The aim of this conference is to establish an African partnership that mobilises and converges the energy of actors across the continent, involved in developing responsible leadership, in order to achieve more collectively than that which they can achieve individually.

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