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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

Rag teamwork leads to Armentum, Emily's float
2016-02-04

Description: Rag video screenshot Tags: Rag video screenshot
Rag video clip

Perhaps the residences Armentum and Emily Hobhouse were thrown into the deep end, but they still wanted to prove a point.

This is according to Hanko Minnaar, Residence Committee member for Rag at Armentum, shortly after the residences were announced as overall float winners of the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Minnaar, Emily Hobhouse and Armentum overcame the challenge of building a float as a two-residence team, while most of the other hostels were in teams of three.

On 30 January 2016, after about two weeks of hard work and sweat, the residence twosome was named the winner at the Bloemfontein Campus.

“I am very proud. We couldn't have asked for more,” Minnaar said, after the residences Armentum and Emily Hobhouse celebrated their victory with house songs. “Anything is possible through teamwork.”

Tom and Jerry, Olaf and a Steri Stumpie

 The theme for this year was “Cartoons, Animation, and Children's Snacks”. Among other items, Armentum and Emily Hobhouse had Tom and Jerry, Olaf from Frozen, a Steri Stumpie, and a box of Astros on their float.

Description: Rag procession photo Tags: Rag procession photo

Photo: Charl Devenish

“We thought hard about what we wanted,” Minnaar said.

“We also asked some children, and they said that Tom and Jerry is a favourite, and Olaf has always been a winner as well. And Steri Stumpies, of course. Who doesn't like Steri Stumpies?” The residences Marjolein, Veritas, and Akasia were second overall, with Karee, Vergeet-My-Nie, and Sonnedou third.

Colourful processions

The events of the day started off with a morning procession from the Pelonomi Hospital to the Twin City Mall in Heidedal, where students and the community celebrated together, and meals were distributed.

The evening procession, from the Tempe robot in Nelson Mandela Drive to the Old Grey Sports Grounds, was greeted by hordes of spectators along the way.

Artists and Co captivate audience

In the evening, music lovers were entertained at Old Grey Sports Grounds by the legendary artists Vusi Mahlasela, the talented Karen Zoid, and an energetic Francois van Coke.

Local bands, Rise in Red and Simple Stories, added to the excitement. To top it all off, a special laser show made for a colourful visual bonus, coupled with great sound.

2016 Float results
Rag photo gallery

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