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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

Ahmed Kathrada to launch his book, ‘Triumph of the Human Spirit’ on 18 August 2015 on Bloemfontein Campus
2015-08-17

Ahmed Kathrada, struggle icon and former prisoner at Robben Island, will launch his latest book, Triumph of the Human Spirit, at the Bloemfontein Campus. The book details Kathrada’s 300-odd visits to the island with guests ranging from heads of state and celebrities to school children. The photographs give a sense of the bleakness of the island and how, now a World Heritage Site, it has been transformed into a monument celebrating lives of courage.
 
Details of the event:
Date: 18 August 2015
Time: 12:00
Place: Centenary Complex, Bloemfontein Campus

In Kathrada’s words, “While we will not forget the brutality of apartheid, we will not want Robben Island to be a monument of our hardship and suffering. We would want it to be a triumph of the human spirit against the forces of evil; a triumph of wisdom and largeness of spirit against small minds and pettiness; a triumph of courage and determination over human frailty and weakness; a triumph of the new South Africa over the old.”

Prof André Keet, Director of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, and Dr Lis Lange, Vice-Rector: Academic, will join Kathrada on stage to discuss his book.

As an added bonus, Kathrada’s visit coincides with the art exhibition, 21 Icons: 21 Years of Freedom Collection, in which he also features. The exhibition is hosted by the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, situated in the UFS Sasol Library, from 12 August to 18 September 2015.

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