Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
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

Standing in solidarity against suicide
2015-09-28


Students take collective action against the plight of suicide

Many students are battling depression, and have contemplated suicide. Some have lost the battle and, in turn, their lives. Suicide is a difficult topic to discuss and, even more challenging, to face its repercussions. The Leadership for Change (F1) 2014/2015 cohort took the initiative to change this through the TooSoon campaign.

A day after International Suicide Awareness Day, on Friday 11 September 2015, students marched in solidarity from Thakaneng Bridge to the Red Square on the University of the Free State’s Bloemfontein Campus.

The TooSoon team has forged links with the student community, Student Affairs, Student Counselling and Development, as well as the Health and Wellness offices to break the silence about the topic of suicide.

Every student has the potential to live a long and purposeful life. So, when someone ends his or her life, it is always too soon: this is the message the team is communicating. Awareness-raising was kick-started in August, with information sessions held at residences across the campus and the Bridge. The campus was plastered with posters offering emergency contact details for those in need of counselling, and culminated in the silent march.

At the end of the march, those who had already lost the battle were remembered through song and poetry. Students then pledged their support by painting their fingers with yellow paint and printing them on a canvas,,symbolising their solidarity in the fight against suicide.

 

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