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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

Prof Naomi Morgan knighted by French Government
2015-02-02

Prof Naomi Morgan

Prof Naomi Morgan, lecturer at the UFS Department of Afrikaans and Dutch; German and French, received the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres award at the French Embassy in Pretoria on Monday 26 January 2015.

The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture, and its supplementary status to the Ordre national du Mérite was confirmed by President Charles de Gaulle in 1963. Its purpose is the recognition of significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields.

Prof Morgan is being recognised for her translation work of plays such as ‘Oskar en die Pienk Tannies’, as well as translations of Afrikaans songs to French for the popular Afri-Frans compilation. The fact that the French Government gives such a highly-acclaimed award in recognition to the ‘art of translation’ is even more of an overwhelming honour to her than the personal achievement in itself.

The Chevalier (the Knighting) awarded to Prof Morgan is the third highest grade in the Order.

Prof Morgan now joins world-renowned individuals such as William Kentridge and Johnny Clegg on the list of foreign luminaries who have received this honour. Only two Literature Professors from South Africa – JM Coetzee and André P Brink – received this award in the past. During 1992, Brink received a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Coetzee was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

“I feel that an award like this is not only significant for me, but also to students who are busy with their studies and wondering: is there going to be recognition, what can one do with translation?” Prof Morgan said. “This is the biggest gift, the biggest gift anyone could ever give me. Now I ask for nothing more!”

For more information or enquiries contact news@ufs.ac.za .

 

 

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