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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 in joint venture with Empowerdex
2006-11-17

The University of the Free State (UFS) today became the first tertiary institution in the country to sign a joint venture agreement with Empowerdex, South Africa’s foremost black economic empowerment (BEE) ratings agency, to train BEE practitioners that will implement BEE across all sectors of the economy.
 
The agreement was signed by Mr Vuyo Jack, Executive Chairman of Empowerdex and Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.
 
Mr Jack and Mr Chia-Chao Wu, Managing Director of Empowerdex, will be appointed as visiting professors in the UFS School of Management as part of the joint venture.
 
“The joint venture entails the establishment of a transformation office within the Centre for Business Dynamics at the UFS which will administer training programmes and conduct contract research on BEE as well as the establishment of a verification agency within the UFS School of Management,” said Mr Danie Jacobs, Head of the Centre for Business Dynamics at the UFS.
 
“The verification agency within the UFS School of Management will be able to verify the BEE compliance of businesses in the Free State and Northern Cape,” said Mr Jacobs.
 
According to Mr Jacobs, the venture originates from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) directive to draft codes of good practice for businesses as stated in the Broad Based Black Empowerment Act 53 of 2003. The final codes will be announced shortly and will act as a standard framework for the measurement of broad based BEE across all sectors of the economy.
 
The codes comprise seven elements on which basis points are allocated to a business to determine its level of compliance to BEE. 
 
“The UFS is the only tertiary institution in the country which offers a formal certificate whereby BEE practitioners can be trained in order to ensure that they are competent to measure BEE,” said Mr Jacobs.
 
“Being able to utilise the UFS’ experience and expertise in the field of transformation is of great benefit to us and it will assist us in driving BEE in the country,” said Mr Jack. 
 
According to Mr Jack, the UFS is centrally situated, which will make it easy for BEE practitioners to access the appropriate training course to suit their needs. “The venture will have an impact not only on this region, but on the whole country as the extensive networks of both Empowerdex and the UFS will contribute to us reaching and training BEE practitioners,” said Mr Jack. 
 
The training programmes that will be offered by the transformation office within the UFS Centre for Business Dynamics are the Management Development Programme for BEE and Transformation, the Executive Credit Bearing Short Learning Programme and an online Non-Credit Bearing Short Learning Programme for BEE Specialists. 
 
“The expertise and knowledge that Empowerdex brings to the joint venture is invaluable. Empowerdex pioneered the empowerment methodology and has been actively involved in the drafting of broad based BEE legislation, regulations and transformation charters,” said Mr Jacobs.
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
17 November 2006
 

Being empowered: Mr Vuyo Jack, Executive Chairman of BEE ratings agency Empowerdex, and Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS). Empowerdex and the UFS signed an agreement to train practitioners that will implement BEE across all sectors of the economy.

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