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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 dust off Pukke before Varsity Cup semifinal
2015-03-24

Even the persistent Pukke from North-West University (NWU) fell short by losing 29-26 on Monday 23 March against the UFS Shimlas in this year’s Varsity Cup rugby tournament.

This means Shimlas have their first ever home semifinal and, for the first time, they are also the only unbeaten side in the tournament. Come Monday 30 March, the men from Kovsies will host the University of Cape Town Ikeys for the first semifinal clash of the day at 16:45 at Shimla Park on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

Despite the loss, Pukke did manage to secure a bonus point by scoring four tries. It was only the good kicking to the posts by Shimlas captain AJ Coertzen that made the three-point victory difference on the final score. Pukke ended fourth on the Varsity Cup log, earning them a position in the semifinal as well. The men from NWU will travel next to the University of Pretoria to face the top of the log Tuks side in the second semifinal clash.

In the Shimlas match against Pukke, UFS flank Gerhard Olivier managed to be dubbed the Player that Rocks for a second time now this season.

Shimlas point scorers against Pukke:
Tries: Elandre Huggett, Niell Jordaan, Gerhard Olivier (2)
Conversion kicks: AJ Coertzen (3)

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