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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

Make the right choices and you will succeed, Prof Jansen advises learners
2014-05-30

“You can make a choice today that will end up with you being pregnant, having babies, being unemployed, sitting at home like some of our brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts. Or you can make a different decision – and that decision is about you working so hard that you earn entry into the University of the Free State, get your degree and become great, not only in South Africa, but in the world.”

This was the message from the UFS’s Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen, who addressed prospective Kovsies during our Open Day on the Qwaqwa Campus on Saturday 24 May 2014. Prof Jansen advised all learners to always make the right decisions.

“The first right decision is to pass well. You must go for 60%, 70% and 80% passes. Set yourself a target and do not just strive to pass, but to pass well,” Prof Jansen told a packed Rolihlahla Mandela Multi-purpose Hall, with learners coming from as far as Ficksburg, Lindley and Koppies.

“The second thing that you need to do, is to believe in yourself. Do not believe people who tell you what you can or cannot do. Believe in what you can do,” said Prof Jansen.

“Thirdly, you have to get up and do things for yourself. You have to work hard, sleep less and study hard. Don't accept excuses. If you can do these three things, then the best place to study is the University of the Free State. Believe that the sky is the limit.”

“We learned a very valuable lesson here today,” said Tumelo Mofokeng from Nkarabeng Secondary School in Kestell.

The fun-filled programme included performances and messages of encouragement from current students who have been part of the unique Leadership for Change Programme. This programme equips first-year students with skills to reflect, dialogue and engage on issues of diversity and leadership.

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