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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

Fun in the sun at first-years swimming gala
2016-02-12

Description: Swimming Gala Tags: Swimming Gala

Residences of the University of the Free State showed off their colours and cheered their swimmers to victory at the first-year swimming gala on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

The first-year students’ swimming gala is always a much-anticipated event, especially after the participants have rubbed shoulders with residence competitors at the first-year athletics. This year’s gala, which took place on 5 February 2016 at the Lindsay Saker swimming pool on the Bloemfontein Campus, proved as exhilarating as always.

The body painting competition, held through the University of the Free State Student Representative Council (SRC) portfolio of Media & Marketing, and sponsored by ABSA, was re-introduced.

Colleges in colour

Before the swimming, spectators had the opportunity to look at the body painting creations presented by each college. Colleges chose one of ten themes randomly. Nonetheless, true artistry was on display. South College were awarded the body painting floating trophy.

When asked about this year's competition, SRC Media & Marketing, Peo Segano, had this to say: "I questioned the relevance of it, but I got the opinion of the residence committees and how they felt about it.
“The majority voted for it to be re-introduced, and ABSA was more than happy to sponsor the paints and some treats.”

Description: Swimming gala video photo Tags: Swimming gala

Video clip

Soon after that, it was down to the business. The swimming started, and each residence was cheering ecstatically for their fellow freshmen as everyone waited in anticipation to see who would be crowned the kings or queens of the water.

Kings and queens of the water

Although many had sung their voices away, they continued to show their spirit through dance and movement. Then, residences were ready to hear whether it had all paid off. Armentum showed consistent effort in this regard, thus ensuring them of the spirit trophy.

To close off the festivities, the final announcements were made. Sonnedou was crowned the female residence winners, while Abraham Fischer (Vishuis) received the title of best male residence.

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