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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

Core herd established on the UFS Experimental Farm
2006-05-24

Seven of the foremost stud-farmers of the Afrikaner Cattle Breeders Society of South Africa, in cooperation with the University of the Free State (UFS), established a core herd on the UFS Paradys Experimental Farm outside Bloemfontein.

Each stud-farmer donated five heifers to the project.  In return, each farmer will annually receive a performance tested bull or semen of a performance tested bull out of the core herd.

With the establishment of the herd, the UFS wants to create a genetically outstanding herd to be used for the training of students, research as well as information sessions for farmers.  All the animals that cannot be used by the herd or the stud-farmers will be made available for auctioning at the UFS Paradys Experimental Farm.  

The herd will be kept under commercial conditions to ensure that only those animals who have adapted can be made available to the industry.  For more information Prof Frikkie Neser can be contacted at (051) 401-9595.

In front from the left are Mr Julian Balt (stud-farmer from  Carletonville), Prof Johan Greyling (Departmental Chairperson: Department of Animal- and Wildlife- and Grassland Sciences), Prof Herman van Schalkwyk (Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences) and Mr Neels van Rooyen (stud-farmer  from Zastron). At the back from the left are Mr Willem Kooij (stud-farmer  from  Potchefstroom), Messrs Johan and Estian Cronjé (stud-farmers from  Winburg), Mr Willie Cloete (stud-farmer from Vryburg), Prof Frikkie Neser (lecturer at the UFS Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences) and Mr Schalk de Jager (stud-farmer from  Vryburg).

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