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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 research on yeast nanorobotics
2006-05-09

Ten members from the University of the Free State's (UFS) Lipid Biotechnology Research Group in the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology will be presenting their research  on yeast nanorobotics (nanotechnology) at three international conferences in Europe during May and June 2006.

 

It is one of the biggest group of students from the department to present their research overseas.  

The conferences to be attended include the 2nd International Conference on Non Mammalian Eicosanoids, Bioactive Lipids and Plant Oxylipins held in Berlin, Germany; the 3rd European Conference on Computational Mechanics (ECCM-2006) held in Lisbon, Portugal and the 25th International Specialised Symposium on Yeasts (ISSY 2006) held in Helsinki, Finland.  The UFS Lipid Biotechnology Group is also co-organising the conference in Berlin.

The group members are in front from the left Ms Chantel Swart (M Sc student), Ms Ntsoaki Leeuw (M Sc student) and Ms Monique Goldblatt (M Sc student).
Middle from the left Mr Olihile Sebolai (Ph D student and recipient of the Free State Premier Excellence Award), Ms Ané van Heerden (M Sc student) and Dr Catrine Strauss (post-doctoral student).
At the back are from the left Mr Desmond Ncango (M Sc), Dr Carlien Pohl (Senior Researcher), Prof Pieter van Wyk (Head: UFS Center for Confocal and Electron Microscopy) and Prof Lodewyk Kock (Head: UFS Lipid Biotechnology Group).
Photo: Stephen Collett

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