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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

Kovsie fencers dominate the Free State Fencing Closed Competition
2015-10-19


The ultimate clash of the fencing titans Photo credits: Robynne van Zuydam.

Willem Brink and Wanda Verster fenced their hearts out at Free State Closed Competition, winning gold medals in the men’s and women’s category, respectively. These University of the Free State students dominated opponents from the Vrystaat Amateur Skerm Klub (VASK).

Fencers from the VASK retaliated bravely in defense of their honour on Saturday 12 September 2015, with Jurgen Schroder taking home a Silver medal. His team mates, Ruan Coetzee-Schroder and Shaeffer Georgiou, shared the Bronze medal. A winning performance placed VASK’s Danielle Ceronio and Stella Heyns in the Bronze realm.  Kovsie Fencing’s Kayla de Gouveid shared the spot with Stella as a bronze recipient.

It was a clash of the titans as 27 participants formed opposing teams. The University of the Free State (UFS) team, who hosted the competition, showed the guests no sign of mercy as they triumphed.

Wanda was impressed by the UFS’s performance. “The students performed very well, especially considering that most of them started fencing just this year.”

“Willem Brink, who finished with gold, started fencing in 2012.  He finished with a Bronze medal at the Free State Closed competition held earlier, in May 2015 The first fencer to reach 15 wins,” said the Kovsie Fencing representative.

The club will represent our university at the University of Pretoria (TUKS) Open where fencers from the entire country will compete on 25 and 26 September 2015.  The club is also preparing for the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament and the Limpopo Open that take place in November and December, respectively. These competitions serve to pave the way for the July 2016 nationals, where Kovsies hope to make their mark as champions.

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