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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

Wayde, Karla crowned as KovsieSport’s best
2015-10-21

 

The pride of KovsieSport. From the left, are: Ox Nche
(UFS Junior Sportman of the Year), Karla Mostert
(Senior Sportswoman of the Year), Wayde van Niekerk
(Senior Sportsman of the Year), and Brett Walraven
(on behalf of his sister, Nicole Walraven – Junior Sportswoman of the Year).
Photo: Hannes Naude

The journey does not belong to him alone, but to everyone at KovsieSport.

These were the words of University of the Free State’s (UFS) Wayde van Niekerk, after being named as KovsieSport’s Senior Sportsman of the Year on Wednesday 21 October 2015.

The South African sports star walked away with the award for the third consecutive year, while the Protea netball defender, Karla Mostert, was crowned Senior Sportswoman for the first time.

The Junior Bok, Ox Nche, and the Protea hockey player, Nicole Walraven, were named as Junior Sportsman and Junior Sportswoman of the Year respectively.

Nche represented South Africa’s U20 rugby team this year at the Junior World Championships, played for the Shimlas, and was named the UFS Rugby Club’s best junior player.

Walraven made her debut for South Africa in 2015. She was crowned jointly as the best player at the Provincial U21 tournament, and was also Hockey South Africa’s U21 Player of the Year.

Van Niekerk won gold in the 400 metres at the World Championships in Beijing, becoming only the fourth athlete in history to run the 400 m in less than 44 seconds, and the 200 metres in less than 20 seconds.

“This is precious, and something I will cherish as an athlete: being part of KovsieSport,” he said.

“I arrived at the UFS as a high school boy, started as a junior, and was accepted immediately.”

“I really appreciate everybody who played such a huge part in my life.”

Mostert was named as Player of the Series in the Brutal Fruit series, as well as the Varsity series this year. She was also a star for the Proteas at the World Cup.

“This (the award) is definitely a good way to end my time at Kovsies. This is something one is trying to achieve for years, so it really is a highlight.”

She said it was difficult to describe how much KovsieSport is doing for its athletes, and this was the reason why the UFS achieves so many successes in sport.


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