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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 UFS produces some of the finest teachers in the country
2015-03-02

 

The quest for producing well-grounded, excellent and prolific teachers at the UFS is bearing fruit. Numerous accolades have over the years been bestowed on some of the UFS Qwaqwa Campus's finest graduates.

"For us as the faculty, it is gratifying and rewarding to learn about the achievements of our students. These achievements do not only validate our efforts, but inspire us as well,” says Dr Dipane Hlalele, Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Education at the UFS.

Dr Hlalele also revealed that, in the recent past, the faculty at the Qwaqwa Campus has experienced an increase in the enrolment figures for teacher training.

"Numbers in our initial teacher education programmes grow in leaps and bounds and we produce some of the best teachers in the country. We are proud to say that on graduation day, our students receive at least two things, i.e., their qualifications as well as entry into the teaching profession," added Hlalele.

Some of the shining examples that Dr Hlalele referred to, are Tebello Tshabalala (English), Mthobisi Khumalo (Mathematics), Thabo Mohapi (Physical Sciences), Lehlohonolo Khanye (Accounting) and Yvonne Tsotetsi (Business Studies). All of these are educators at Lekgulo Senior Secondary School in Qwaqwa and have each produced a 100% pass rate in the 2014 examinations.

There is also Nape Motloung, whose excellent Mathematics results at Botshabelo's Lefikeng High School have placed him as the Top Mathematics Educator in the Free State. Motloung's consistent excellent results have also placed his school in the Top 10 of the Best Performing Schools in Mathematics. This has also won his school R100 000 from the Free State Department of Education.

At yet another Qwaqwa school, Sekgutlong Secondary, Malefetsane Mokomotoane's Mathematics results over the years have earned him a runner-up prize in the category Excellence in Teaching Mathematics at the 2014 National Teachers Awards hosted by Minister Angie Motshekga.

"I am proud to have had 98% of my learners pass Mathematics, with 10 distinctions," said an elated Mokomotoane, who has just been appointed Principal of Selelekela Secondary School in Qwaqwa.

"Having achieved an average of 59%, my highest ever, has taught me and my learners that through hard work, anything is possible," added Mokomotoane.

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