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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

UFS obtains court interdict against protesting students - classes will resume on 22 October 2015
2015-10-21

A court interdict was successfully granted to the University of the Free State (UFS) this afternoon against conduct by anyone who intends to damage the property of the university or who interferes with the rights of others.  Any disruption that happens as from now, will be illegal and the UFS will have the right to call upon the South African Police Service (SAPS) to enforce the interdict.

“The interdict does not prevent students from exercising their right to protest or to use any form of demonstration that does not threaten people or property. In doing this, management believes that it is in keeping with its double responsibility of guaranteeing all students’ rights and safeguarding the university’s staff, academic activities and property,” says Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.

“The university management is still open to engage with students in discussing the implications of their demands for a zero percent fee increase,” says Prof Jansen.

All three campuses of the UFS will be open tomorrow (22 October 2015) and all academic programmes and support services will resume as normal. Order will be maintained on the campuses, using the powers of the interdict. No one will be allowed to enter or exit the campuses without a valid UFS staff or student card.



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