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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

Shimlas now second on Varsity Cup log
2015-02-25

After scoring nine tries to none to establish a 57-0 win over the Central University of Technology’s (CUT) Ixias in round three of the 2015 Varsity Cup Rugby Tournament, the UFS Shimlas are now second on the overall log.

Despite thunder showers in Bloemfontein on the evening of Monday 23 February, the match at the CUT Rugby Stadium continued. Shimlas’ Arthur Williams opened the scoreboard early with the first try of the evening, after getting his hands on a loose ball to break through the CUT defense line. Only four minutes later, Shimlas’ flank Gerhard Olivier scored another try. Both of these tries were successfully converted by Niel Marais, putting Shimlas in a 16-0 lead within less than seven minutes.

By halftime, the Shimlas’ lead had increased to 39-0. Daniel Maartens started the second-half scoring for the UFS when he crossed the try line in the 46th minute to secure Shimlas’ seventh try. After another successful conversion kick by Marais, the scoreboard read 47-0.

The match began to lose its spark as handling errors and ill-discipline became the order of the day. CUT were reduced to 14 men for the second time in the match, when Boetie Makethlo was sent to the sin bin in the 75th minute for an infringement at the breakdown, inches away from his try line.

Maartens went over the try line again in the 78th minute, scoring Shimlas’ eighth try in the match and taking his team’s score beyond the 50 mark. Shimlas managed yet another try in the last minute, with Niell Jordaan diving over the try line for old time’s sake.

Although the Shimlas’ 2015 Varsity Cup started off with a 29-29 draw against the University of Pretoria’s Tuks in Bloemfontein, they returned the following week to clinch a 24-0 win against the University of Johannesburg at the UJ Stadium. Apart from Tuks, who is at this stage on top of the log, no team has scored against Shimlas thus far in the 2015 Varsity Cup.

Up next, Shimlas will face the Stellenbosch University’s Maties side at Shimla Park in Bloemfontein for round four of the tournament on Monday 2 March 2015.

Our Player that Rocks: Niell Jordaan

Shimlas’ point scorers:

Tries: Arthur Williams, Gerhard Olivier (2), Marco Klopper, Vuyani Maqina (2), Daniel Maartens (2), Niell Jordaan
Conversion kicks: Niel Marais 4

 

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