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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

The Great Pool of Exhilaration
2015-02-11

Photo: Albert van Biljon 

 

Boys’ roars and ladies’ shouts could be heard from miles away. From this, one could tell that the 2015 first-year’s Swimming Gala was bound to be an exciting one.

While RC Sports members were stressing, the first-years blissfully continued in song and excitement.

One would think that, after a hectic first week of classes, first-years would not have much energy left, but the atmosphere proved that Residence Committees (RCs) had prepared the individuals with rather motivating pep talks before the event. Most male residences put their best foot forward, not holding back on themed attire and additional instruments, while female residences sang and danced to the music provided. Not only were the masses competing to claim that they had the greatest spirit on this night, but they were also waiting to hear the results of the Spirit Cup for the first-years’ Athletics, which was cut short due to heavy rain showers. This simply added to the already intense anticipation of first-years and RC Sports members, as they would receive the results only at the end of the event.

The competition was tough as many of the first-years who competed moved with ease in the water as though it was second nature to them. This year’s gala saw quite a few talented, national swimmers competing, which left those who swam for pride and points intimidated. The excitement of the crowd was heightened as the relay section of the programme approached. This meant that the winners were to be announced soon.

In the ladies’ section, the residences were placed:
• 1st – Marjolein
• 2nd – Wag-‘n-Bietjie
• 3rd – Sonnedou

In the men’s section, the residences were placed:
• 1st – Armentum
• 2nd – Vishuis
• 3rd – Karee

When the time arrived for the announcement of the Spirit Cup winners, many were hopefully clenching their hearts for their name to be roared out. In most people’s opinion, it came as no surprise when Armentum walked away with the Spirit Cup for both the first-years’ Athletics and the Swimming Gala. Furthermore, Armentum’s broader South College community – of which Emily Hobhouse, Marjolein, NJ vd Merwe and Villa Bravado are also part – walked away with the cash prize for the best mascot.

By end of the night, everyone, no matter if they were drenched or dry, experienced the exciting sporting atmosphere at Kovsies that they’ve now become a part of.

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