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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

Open Day 2014 gives visitors a glimpse of UFS
2014-05-12



The UFS was a hive of excitement and activity with the annual Kovsie Open Day on Saturday 10 May 2014.

From drumming up a storm during the welcoming ceremony to moving about the lively students and vibrant residence stalls, prospective students and parents can now also say that ‘only a Kovsie knows the feeling’. Visitors also had first-hand experience of how accessible our Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen, really is. At the Talk to Me gazebo outside his office, Prof Jansen dished up food while having a chat with parents.

This gesture echoed what Prof Jansen said earlier the morning as he addressed visitors to our Bloemfontein Campus in the Callie Human Centre. “The difference between us as Kovsies and other universities is that we are interested in you as a human being,” he said.

He then went on to introduce some of Kovsies’ top achievers. Among others were Izelle Lategan (U/21 SA women’s hockey player of 2013), Wayde van Niekerk (SA and Varsity Athletics 400m champion) and Izelke Klindt (BSc Hons in Astro Physics and winner of the Dean’s Medal in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences for 2014).

OFM presenter Success Lekabe, who acted as programme leader during the welcoming ceremony, praised the UFS as one of “the best university institutions from across South Africa.”

“Kovsies are changing their students’ lives to change the lives of others,” Lekabe said.

The 2014 Kovsie Open Day, with all its fun and laughter, reflected the truth of the UFS as an academic institution that inspires excellence and transforms lives to all its visitors.

Even if you missed the Kovsie Open Day, be sure to grab the chance to study at our university and ensure a lifetime of excellence and innovation. You can visit our Prospective student webpage for more information.


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