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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

Odeion String Quartet nominated for KykNet Fiesta Award
2015-02-04

The members are, from the left: Jeanne-Louise Moolman; Sharon de Kock; Samson Diamond; and Anmari van der Westhuizen.
Photo: Supplied

The Odeion String Quartet at the University of the Free State has a chance of winning a KykNet Fiesta award for the ‘Best Achievement in Classical Music’.

The Odeion String Quartet was nominated for this category in January and the winners will be announced at a swanky gala night in Sea Point, Cape Town, on 5 March 2015. Other artists nominated in the same category, include Magdalena Minnaar (singer), Elizabeth Frandsen (singer) and the composer, Braam du Toit.

The latter were all part of the Poskantoor opera production at Aardklop. Artists are nominated on the basis of successful and award-winning performances at national arts festivals.

During the 2014 KKNK, the Odeion String Quartet won a Kanna award “for the best Classical Music production, Homage, where we honoured local classical composers in the light of South Africa’s 20-year celebrations,” says Prof Anmari van der Westhuizen Joubert of the Odeion String Quartet.

“We were requested to pay homage to a variety of composers in the production, namely Mokala Koapeng; Pieter de Villiers; Allan Stephenson and Hendrik Hofmeyr. The guest artist at the festival was the singer Zanne Stapelberg.”

Another event where the Odeion String Quartet was honoured, was last year’s Vryfees. They received the award as Best Classical Debut Artist for their production Bits and Pieces. The quartet also received the UFS Alumni Ambassador award last year.

 

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

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