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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

TEDxUFS conference - the highlight of the university’s innovative calendar
2015-08-11


Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance with co-organisers of TEDxUFS Bonginkosi Leeuw and Lerothodi Molete after his inspirational talk at the event.
Photo: Curtis Nhlamulo Mashimbye

This year’s TEDxUFS speaker lineup persuaded the audience unanimously to question the nature of reality. The Albert Wessels Auditorium on the Bloemfontein Campus was packed with about 200 attendees on Saturday 1 August 2015.

Speakers shared a multiplicity of profound theories and inquisitions, challenging society in general to think out of the box. Melody Mentz, Gil Oved, Ricardo Peach, Pamela Nomvete, Pepe Marais, Mmusi Maimane, Brian Kally, Pieter Geldenhuys, Philippa Tumubweinee, Gareth Cliff, and Angelo Mockie took on to the stage to tackle multidisciplinary concepts as part of the broad ‘Ask Why’ theme.

Innovation mouthpieces share their worldview

Pieter Geldenhuys, the internationally-renowned futurist and Director of the Institute for Technology Strategy, and Innovation proposed that we change our mindsets by neglecting predictability. “We need to look at different models to understand the world around us,” he said. He challenged the linear and familiar ways humans make sense of the universe.

Speaking to the dire need for transformation, Philippa Tumubweinee suggested that university spaces merge with the communities they serve in terms of policies, social atmosphere, and physical structure. Tumubweinee is a senior Lecturer at the Department of Architecture at our university, and co-Founder and Director of Izuba In Africa architects.

“Only we can give permission to be intimidated; so don’t give in,” said Brian Kally, the CEO of Arrow Logistics (Pty) Ltd. Kally underscored the power of believing in our individual ideas.

Guidelines from TEDxUFS organisers

Bonginkosi Leeuw: “If you take your brainchild and implement it, and make it a reality, that’s when you can achieve great things, not before that.”

Lerothodi Molete: “You should ask questions; the moment you ask the question you will understand more.”

Real-time social media feedback

These are some of the comments audience members published on Twitter at the event:

IG: mispertanzy ?@MiesperTanzy  Aug 1

A huge shout-out to @TEDxUFS for hosting such a great conference!The team has really made the event an unmissable one on the UFS calendar.

Celebrabitur? ?@HatsuMphatsoe  Aug 1

Proximity that allows us to experience our broader society. Truly engaged by Philippa Tumbweinee's talk! @TEDxUFS

TEDxJohannesburg ?@TEDxJoburg  Aug 1

A big shoutout to @TEDxUFS from for a fantastic event. Wish we were there.

RicardoPeach ?@ricardopeach  Aug 1

Africa is rich with potential  #TEDXUFS @MmusiMaimane Yes!

 

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