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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

First university student from Elzabé Zietsman’s Doilie Foundation chooses Kovsies
2015-01-21

Naledi Dweba and Elzabé Zietsman
Photo: Johan Roux

Naledi Dweba, one of the young people mentored by the well-known singer, Elzabé Zietsman, will become a Kovsie this year.

Although the University of the Free State (UFS) wasn’t the only university to offer Dweba a scholarship, he decided on Kovsies without doubt or further consideration and enrolled for his BMus degree with us. His instrument is the clarinet and Dweba reckons the outstanding Danré Strydom – a lecturer at the UFS’s Odeion School of Music – is the reason why he decided on Kovsies.

“She is a remarkable music teacher,” says Dweba.

Dweba, who only started with music lessons at the age of 15, recently performed his Grade 8 exam. Last year he also obtained a music distinction in matric.

Dweba and Zietsman met four years ago and, as a result of her Doilie Foundation, he now has the opportunity to pursue his dreams as a music student. Zietsman started the foundation in 2012 in order to help talented children.

“I have so many talented young people under my care, but Naledi is the first one to attend university,” Zietsman said at the university’s 2015 first-year’s welcoming on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The Doilie Foundation currently provides for several artistic children – from musicians to ballerinas. 

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