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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 cancels lease contract with House Abraham Fischer Company
2015-01-23

UFS cancels lease contract with House Abraham Fischer Company

The management of the University of the Free State (UFS) terminated the lease contract with the House Abraham Fischer company (HAF) on the Bloemfontein Campus during December 2014.

The HAF company has been managing the Abraham Fischer men’s residence as independent provider of student accommodation on the campus for a considerable time.

The decision to terminate the lease contract was taken because the company was unable to meet its financial obligations of more than R700 000 in overdue rent to the university for quite some time. Over the past few years, the management of the UFS had several discussions with the board on this matter. HAF’s inability to make payment has obliged the university to intervene in order to ensure that services to residents of the residence would be continued uninterrupted. 

The termination of the lease contract means that the Department of Housing and Residence Affairs at the UFS will be taking over the management and finances of the residence, and will also be handling the placement of students in the residence from now on. The takeover is effective as from 1 January 2015.

The UFS informed senior and first-year students of the change in management on Friday 23 January 2015.

Students’ accommodation in the residence is in no way affected by the change in management.

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