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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

Kovsie archer aims for 2016 Olympics
2014-04-24


Sariça Coetzee

For some of us, archery is just something we see on film and television, like in the Hunger Games movies or on the Arrow TV series. Sariça Coetzee, a first-year BA Psychology and Criminology student, however, is almost like South Africa’s very own Katniss Everdeen.

Sariça recently won two gold medals in the division for Junior Women at the South African National Archery Association’s (SANAA’s) National Archery Championships. With the qualifying heats taking place next year, the Olympic Games of 2016, which is just around the corner, is beckoning her.

“I am working hard to get there and would love to go,” says Sariça.

“I train on a regular basis with Riaan Schoeman from Kovsies’ Exercise and Sport Sciences, in order to improve my technique and strength.”

Sariça’s training includes shooting at targets and spending time in the gym.

“I spend about three hours per day, four days a week, on training. In archery it is crucial to be able to keep your body stable when the wind is blowing.”

Sariça, who matriculated at Sentraal High School in Bloemfontein, stared with archery seven years ago.

“We drove past Old Grey’s archery club and I just wanted to do it as well,” she says.

“I begged my parents for almost a year to let me do it. They thought it was just a passing fancy, but I really developed a passion for the sport and had a feeling for archery from the beginning.”

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