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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

International conference on breaking cycles of the past in societies affected by historical trauma presented from 5-8 December 2012
2012-11-28

Marguerite Barankitse from Burundi
28 November 2012

An interdisciplinary group of scholars, experts and practitioners from 24 countries around the world will gather at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein from 5 - 8 December 2012 for a conference on “Engaging the Other: Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition.”

The conference intends to open new avenues of inquiry into the trans-generational effects of trauma on communities that have experienced extreme violence.

One of the highlights of the conference is a presentation by Marguerite Barankitse, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, on Thursday 6 December 2012. Marguerite has received several awards and distinctions for her work aimed at transforming the lives of Hutu and Tutsi children affected by war. Among these are the highly prestigious humanitarian prize, the Opus Prize, the UNESCO Prize, and the World's Children's Prize, also known as the ‘Nobel Prize’ for humanitarian work aimed at improving the lives of children and their chances of a better future.

On Saturday 8 December 2012 Prof. Martha Nussbaum, one of the world’s foremost philosophers, will deliver a keynote address on “Reconciliation: The political role of the Arts.” Prof. Nussbaum will receive a D.Litt. degree in the Faculty of Humanities from the UFS on 6 December 2012.

Other guests include Michael Lapsley, survivor of an apartheid bombing, Kimberlyn Leary, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School,  Dr Jean Decety, Irving B. Harris Professor at the University of Chicago and Dr Katerina Fotopoulou from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University College in London.

One of the conference events entitled “South Africans speak about the crisis of moral leadership: A public dialogue” will be open to the public and presented in the Centenary Complex on Friday 7 December 2012 from 18:00-19:30. Participants in the public dialogue include some of South Africa’s most thoughtful social commentators and a community activist: Barney Pityana (Professor and Rector, College of Transfiguration); Prince Mashele (Director: Centre for Politics and Research); Pierre de Vos (Professor of Law, University of Cape Town); and Faeza Meyer (Chairperson: Tafelsig Residents Unite).

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