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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

Nine Kovsie students awarded NAC bursaries
2015-02-19

The UFS is proud to announce that nine of our Drama and Theatre Arts undergraduate students have been awarded National Arts Council (NAC) bursaries for their studies in 2015.

From the left in the photograph, these students are:

• Mbuyiselo Nqodi (first year)
• Marike Jonker (second year)
• Monique de Klerk (second year)
• Aldine van der Merwe (third year)
• Kado Cloete (third year)
• Rondo Mpiti (third year)
• Magnus McPhail (third year)
• Olivia Wyngaard (third year)
• Marica Laing (second year)

This year the amount awarded for the NAC busaries is R70 000.

Since 2005, the NAC has given bursaries to the UFS for the last 10 years. The amount varies from year to year.

“The number of undergraduate students who benefit varies depending on the amount allocated each year,” said Prof Nico Luwes, Head of the Drama and Theatre Arts Department at the UFS.

“Some years, the NAC prescribes how many students will be awarded a bursary and provides a profile of gender and academic prerequisites. Other years, such as the present one, there is no prescription and the UFS was able to cater for the applications submitted, and the number of students who will benefit, within the amount awarded. Normally, it is divided between successful candidates.”

The criteria according to which NAC bursaries are awarded to students every year include academic merit and, of course, their financial situation.”

“The full information of applicants from the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts is checked by the selection committee – all permanent members of staff in the department. The names are then sent to the NAC for approval.
UFS Finances ensures further that the bursary money is paid into the student’s class fees account. During the year and at the end, I report to the NAC on the progress shown by bursary holders. This, in turn, contributes to the excellent co-operation with the NAC so that the following year’s application is then generally successful,” says Luwes.

Bursary monies cover mainly registration and class fees for some or all modules, depending on the amount awarded.

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