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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

Forensic investigation at UFS Computer Services division in final stage of finalisation
2007-02-01

Statement by prof Niel Viljoen, Chief Director: Operations  
 
The case in which possible irregularities were investigated at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Computer Services Division at the end of 2005, and which led to two Deputy Directors’ compulsory leave pending an investigation, is making good progress and is in the final stage of finalisation.
 
One of the Deputy Directors resigned unconditionally a day before his disciplinary hearing was to take place. He is one of two staff members who were placed on compulsory leave after an internal investigation ordered by the UFS management indicated possible irregularities in the division.
 
“As a result of the extent of the case and the involvement of more than one local business, the investigation had a long course,” said Prof Viljoen.
 
“The Deputy Director who resigned would have appeared before a disciplinary committee with Judge Joos Hefer as chairperson on charges of misconduct, involving more than R500 000,” said Prof Viljoen.
 
“We are going ahead with the process of criminal prosecution against this person and a docket was opened at the commerce branch of the South African Police Services (SAPS).  A civil action to recover damages from him was started,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
With a couple of exceptions, the internal disciplinary process of the other persons involved in the case is also finalised. “The disciplinary hearing of the Deputy Director, who is still in the service of the UFS’s Computer Services division, is scheduled for May 2007. This person is still on compulsory leave,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
“To demonstrate our commitment to the enhancement of honest work ethics and to give to personnel and students a mechanism to bring any unethical business practices to the attention of the UFS management, a fraud hotline was installed last year. The hotline is operated 24 hours a day for 365 days of the year by KPMG,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
Prof Viljoen thanked everyone who was involved in the investigation for their cooperation. This includes staff as well as people from outside the UFS.  “We are committed to transparent corporate management. Any possible irregularities will be investigated and if staff or students are found guilty of any irregular behaviour, strict actions would be taken against these persons,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@mail.ufs.ac.za
2 February 2007
 

 

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