Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

Social work students off to Sweden on exchange programme
2015-08-17


Excited about the prospects of studying in Sweden, Letttie and Moratoe already have their bags packed. Photo: Valentino Ndaba

In 2011 the university signed an exchange programme agreement with Jönköping University (JU), in Sweden. Since the inception of the contract the UFS Department of Social Work has been able to send two second year students to the guest university for a semester annually while also hosting students from JU.

 

The UFS is one of only 350 partner universities that JU co-operates with on an international level. The university that describes itself as “the most international university on Sweden” welcomes 714 exchanged students annually. This year, their School of Health and Welfare will host two of our Social work students, Moratoe Tshabalala and Lettie Mohoko; who are the fourth duo to take this unique opportunity.

These Kovsies will join the JU from 17 August-20 December 2015. By focusing on Swedish Social work and welfare policy, participation and inclusion, and Old-age care, they intend to use the learning experience to influence our country’s welfare system.

Growing up in Wesselsbron - a small town in the Free State, Lettie has always been passionate about working with people and having a positive impact on their lives. She sees the exchange programme as an opportunity to gain an international perspective which will provide more skills, hence improving her community engagement.

Moratoe, who is from the small town of Senekal, echoed similar sentiments, adding that she is interested in the distinctiveness of Sweden’s social welfare system, which offers free education, where old people get free care from the government, and children get incentives to attend school.

Lettie and Moratoe also volunteer as representatives of the UFS at ENGO Family Care, a non-profit organisation in Bloemfontein.

Dr Anneline Keet, Head of the UFS Social Work Department, believes that the exchange experience enhances the students’ critical thinking, and facilitates their ability to engage with different social welfare systems. While only two students are able to experience the full exchange annually, the rest of the students also benefit from the discussions taking place in class where students from the guest university (JU) join them for a semester.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept