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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 in partnership with USA ’s Council on Economic Education 
2006-02-01

A visit to the campus of the UFS was part of the recent NCEE workshop.  Standing from the left are Prof Soehendro (Chairperson:  National Education Standardisation Body of Indonesia), Prof Herman van Schalkwyk (Dean:  Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS), Prof Elena Reshetnyak (Vice-Dean for International Programs, Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, Kharkiv, Ukraine) and Mrs Annely Minnaar (local coordinator of the NCEE and professional officer of the UFS Department of Agricultural Economics).  Seated are from left Prof  Sutjipto ( Chairman of the Indonesian Council on Economic Education) and Dr Patty Elder (Vice-President of the NCEE's national programme).
Photo: Stephen Collett


UFS in partnership with USA ’s Council on Economic Education 

A group of 50 teachers in Economics, learning facilitators and lecturers from eight countries attended a ‘train the trainers’ workshop this past week in Bloemfontein.  The workshop forms part of the outreach programme of the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE) in the United States of America’s (USA) effort to improve the quality of the training in Economics of teachers and lecturers across the world. 

The UFS and the Free State Department of Education are the NCEE’s first partners in Africa.  “The initiative started in the Free State because of the connection that existed between the UFS and the NCEE,” said Prof Klopper Oosthuizen, from the UFS Department of Agricultural Economics and initiator of the cooperative agreement with the NCEE.

Three faculties at the UFS are involved in the cooperative agreement namely the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, the Faculty of the Humanities and the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

A group of 84 teachers and learning facilitators in the Free State attended the ‘train the teacher’ workshop at the UFS in December 2005 in an effort to improve the quality of Economics classes at schools in the Free State.  The last national workshop will take place in June 2006 in Bloemfontein.  During this workshop a group of 40 teachers and learning facilitators in the Free State will be trained by the NCEE.    

“Because of the success with the programme in the Free State Dr Patty Elder, Vice-President of the NCEE’s national programme, announced during last week’s workshop that the initiative will now be extended to the other provinces in the country,” said Prof Oosthuizen.  According to Prof Oosthuizen discussions around a strategy to get the other provinces on board of the programme also took place between Dr Elder and Prof Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean of the UFS Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.  Prof van Schalkwyk will take the lead in this regard.  

“The presence of Dr Elder and the executive directors of similar education networks in the Ukraine and Indonesia is an indication of the NCEE’s seriousness with the programme in Africa,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

Prof Oosthuizen explained that South Africa is competing to obtain funds from the NCEE to have a total South African representation in the workshops in the following one-year training period. 

South Africa has a good chance of establishing the network quickly because of the presentation of the last national workshop in Bloemfontein in June 2006.  “We are going to try to have as much South African representation as possible at this workshop,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

Concurrent with the workshop in June 2006, a programme will be developed that will be attended by at least five other provincial education departments and representatives of five other universities.  These representatives will then be able to observe on a first-hand basis how this action learning takes place and how the participating countries plan to establish and expand their networks,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

“The NCEE has been working together with international partners since 1992 to strengthen their Economics teaching systems.  They have already succeeded in increasing literacy in Economics of schools in the USA and more than 20 East Block countries.  More than 1,5 million learners in the East Block countries have already been served by this initiative,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

According to Prof Oosthuizen the focus of the NCEE has since 2004 moved away from the East Block countries to Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.  The representatives that attended last week’s workshop were from South Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Indonesia, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay.  Countries such as Egypt, who was also present at last week’s workshop, are eager to start a similar network. 

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
31 January 2006

 
 

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