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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

Kovsies Wayde van Niekerk wins gold at the IAAF World Championship
2015-08-27

  

Wayde van Niekerk has done it! He ran the men’s 400m race in a sensational 43.48 seconds. First over the finishing line, he left the former world champion, LaShawn Merritt, and reigning Olympic champion, Kirani James, well behind.

They were competing at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China, on Wednesday 26 August 2015.

This glorious achievement makes him the fourth-fastest athlete in the history of the event, with only Michael Johnson, Butch Reynolds, and Jeremy Wariner bettering Van Niekerk’s time. He is also South Africa’s first world sprint champion.

Back at home, the entire university community backed him with each stride. With his race broadcast live on big screens in the Callie Human Centre, shouts of encouragement reverberated across the Bloemfontein Campus.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, said: "The community of the University of the Free State is so incredibly proud of our student, Wayde van Niekerk, who is now the World Champion over 400m! This is an astounding accomplishment of an exceptionally talented Gold Medalist, who has remained humble, friendly, and decent in his value system, despite rising to the top of the world. The celebrations here in Kovsieland will go on for many weeks to come, and we cannot wait for him to come home."

Facebook video of Kovsie staff and students watching the race on big screen.
YouTube video of the race.


Other articles about Wayde:

http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6415
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6402
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6391
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6373

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