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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 forefront with ASGI-SA initiative
2006-05-10

At the conceptualisation colloquium and stakeholder dialogue were from the left Dr Aldo Stroebel (senior researcher at the UFS Research Development Directorate), Dr Edith Vries (acting Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Development Trust) and Prof Frans Swanepoel (Director: UFS Research Development Directorate).

UFS in forefront with ASGI-SA initiative

Two staff members of the University of the Free State (UFS) have been appointed as members of the advisory board of the national programme for the creation of small enterprises and jobs in the second economy.  This programme forms part of government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (ASGI-SA).

Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director of the UFS Research Development Directorate and Dr Aldo Stroebel, senior researcher at the UFS Research Development Directorate, are working with a team of experts from the UFS on a draft implementation strategy for the national programme.  Both Prof Swanepoel and Dr Stroebel are also associated to the UFS Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.
 
“The strategy is being developed in collaboration with institutions like the Independent Development Trust, the Department of Agriculture, the National Development Agency and the Department of Trade and Industry,” says Prof  Swanepoel.  

The other team members of the UFS are Prof Basie Wessels, Director of the  Mangaung-University Community Partnership Programme (MUCPP) and Mr  Benedict Mokoena, project manager at the MUCPP.

Dr Stroebel was also member of the organising committee of a conceptualisation colloquium and stakeholder dialogue that was recently presented in Johannesburg.  The conference was attended by more than 400 delegates from government departments, higher-education institutions and civil society, including Dr Kobus Laubscher, member of the UFS Council.

The conference was facilitated by Ms Vuyo Mahlati, previously from the WK Kellogg Foundation’s Africa programme and opened by Ms Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs.   

“The colloquium formed the basis of an induction workshop during which a group of 150 individuals (50 teams of three) from all nine provinces, identified to initiate the implementation of the national programme, was trained and orientated towards an induction manual in collaboration with Hand-in-Hand, an Indian counterpart,” says Prof Swanepoel.

Dr Stroebel and Mr Benedict Mokoena formed part of the team to conceptualise and finalise this training manual.  The induction training includes a case study of a successful community self-help partnership model, namely the MUCPP at the UFS. Prof Wessels and Mr Mokoena are both playing a leading role in the further development of subsequent training initiatives throughout South Africa, in partnership with the relevant provincial departments.

“The involvement of the UFS in the programme is a compliment to us.  It reflects the value government sees in the use of academics and experts in the management of the ASGI-SA initiative.  It is also an indication of one of the aims of the UFS to play a role in South Africa and Africa and in the transformation and change that is taking place in our country,” says Prof Swanepoel.  

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

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