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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

New modern dissection hall ensures optimal learning experience for medical students
2015-12-14

New Dissection Hall in the Francois Retief Building on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Stephen Collett

The School of Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the university opened its doors on 6 June 1969. Three years later, a dissection hall for anatomy training was added to the school. This year, because of the prospective growth in the number of medical students as well as in changing methods of teaching and training, a new modern Dissection Hall has been completed on the Bloemfontein Campus. This ensures that students receive an optimal learning experience during dissection tuition.

The Dissection Hall was built as a double-storey wing to the existing Francois Retief Building. Covering 733m², the new facility is on the first floor - the same level as the existing hall - to allow easy access between the two facilities. The ground floor, totalling 465m², houses various offices for 16 people.

The new hall has special lighting and modern equipment for the training of second-year medical students in dissection. The hall also has high-quality sound and computer equipment. A unique camera system allows students to follow dissection demonstrations on 10 screens in the hall. Dissection demonstrations are recorded, enabling lecturers to compile new visual aid material for teaching and learning.

The dissection programme for medical students is of critical importance, not only for acquiring anatomical knowledge, but also for developing critical skills in medical students.

The new hall is also used for clinical workshops and postgraduate teaching seminars, as well as workshops in orthopaedics (shoulder, hip, and knee), otorhinolaryngology, cardiothoracic surgery (valve and endoscopy), and anaesthesiology, among others.

Both present and future generations of medical students will benefit from this new world-class facility.

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