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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

'England, the English and the problem of education in South Africa.’
2013-09-26

 

 

Attending the lecture were, from the left: Dr Susan Brokensha, Senior Lecturer: Department of English; Prof Rosemary Gray, Professor Emeritus (Honorary Life Vice-President of the English Academy of Southern Africa); Prof Jonathan Jansen; and Dr Thinus Conradie, Lecturer: Department of English.
Photo: Johan Roux
26 September 2013

 

Prof Jonathan Jansen: Lecture

The university celebrated the life of one of South Africa's most renowned art critics, hosting the 2013 English Academy’s Percy Baneshik Memorial Lecture on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The keynote lecture was delivered by Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, who joined a distinguished list of speakers to have delivered the lecture. Presented annually by the English Academy of Southern Africa, an association dedicated to promoting the effective use of English as a dynamic language in Southern Africa, past speakers include Prof Es’kia Mphahlele, Prof Njabulo Ndebele, Dr Alan Paton and Prof Albie Sachs. The lecture is hosted at venues across the country and this year Bloemfontein paid tribute to Percy Baneshik.

In his speech Not even colonial born: England, the English and the problem of education in South Africa,' Prof Jansen addressed the dilemma of the politics of language in both school and university education today.

Talking about the dominance of English in schools, Prof Jansen said it is the language of choice because indigenous languages are so poorly taught. "Simply learning in your mother tongue is absolutely no guarantee of improved learning gains in school. The problem is not the language of instruction; it is the quality of teaching, the knowledge of curriculum and the stability of the school."

Prof Jansen told the audience in the CR Swart Hall that Afrikaans-exclusive, or even Afrikaans-dominant white schools represent a serious threat to race relations in South Africa. "You simply cannot prepare young people for dealing with the scars of our violent past without creating optimal opportunities in the educational environment for living and learning together."

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