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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 takes lead in improving quality of training in economics in schools
2006-06-20

The fourth international workshop for trainers in the National Council on Economic Education’s (NCEE) outreach programme for Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East will be presented in Bloemfontein from 18-24 June 2006.

 “Because of the rapid success we achieved in the Free State with similar workshops in Economics education that were presented by the NCEE the past year, we have now invited representatives from education departments and universities of five other provinces to attend the international workshop for trainers,” said Prof Klopper Oosthuizen, lecturer at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Agricultural Economics and initiator of the cooperative agreement with the NCEE.

 The UFS and the Free State Department of Education are the NCEE’s first partners in Africa who received this training.  “The attendance of the five provinces and universities is the first step in the extension of the programme to the rest of the country,” said Prof Oosthuizen. 

 The NCEE is based in the United States of America (USA) and the workshop forms part of the council’s effort to improve the quality of the training of Economics teachers and lecturers across the world. 

 “South Africa is urgently in need of efforts to improve the integration of black people into the market economy.  An understanding of how markets work is one of the pillars of democracy.  Equipping young people with economic understanding and skills will help empower them for responsible roles as individuals and citizens,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

 According to Prof Oosthuizen representatives from the education departments of the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and North West will also be attending the international workshop for trainers.  Representatives from the Universities of Rhodes, of KwaZulu-Natal, North West and the Durban University of Technology as well as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology will also attend the workshop.

 During this workshop teachers and lecturers in Economics will receive certificates. 

 Various subjects will be covered during the workshop such as world trade patterns, cost and benefits of free trade, exchange rates and international finance.  The training will be done by representatives from the NCEE by using methods such as direct instruction and role play.

 The NCEE is also in the process of training teachers and learning facilitators in the Free State in an effort to improve the quality of Economics classes in secondary schools. 

 “A group of 84 teachers and learning facilitators were trained in December 2005, 50 were trained in January 2006 and the last group of 40 will be trained at the UFS Main Campus in Bloemfontein from 26 June - 1 July 2006,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

 During this seminar the teachers will be trained in issues such as broad social goals in an economy, economic decision making, government’s role in a market economy and fiscal policy.  The training will also be done by representatives from the NCEE.

 The NCEE has been working together with international partners since 1992 to strengthen their Economics teaching systems.  They have already succeeded in increasing literacy in Economics at schools in the USA and more than 20 East Block countries.  More than 1,5 million learners in the East Block countries have already been served by this initiative.  Since 2004 the NCEE’s focus has moved away from the East Block countries to Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

 “Our future plans include strengthening the growing partnership between the UFS, the Free State Department of Education and the NCEE.  We also want to establish a council and centres for economic education which will serve as an umbrella for our joint efforts,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

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

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