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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

African issues the core of international conference
2016-02-19

Description: Prof Hussein Solomon Tags: Prof Hussein Solomon

Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor at the Department of Political Studies and Governance of University of the Free State (UFS), expects the Osaka University–UFS Conference to influence African policy makers.
Photo: Supplied

Scholars and policymakers are expected to map out the political, economic, social, and educational trajectory at the Annual Osaka University–University of the Free State (UFS) Conference from 22 - 23 February 2016. The State of South Africa and Conflict Resolution in Africa are the themes of the two-day conference, hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The Osaka School of International Public Policy, Japan, and UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance have invited international academics, policymakers, and stakeholders in an attempt to reflect on a new path forward for the country and the continent.

Acknowledging problems to deal with them

According to Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in Political Studies at the UFS, “the idea is not only to map out the scale and gravity of the problems confronted, but also to arrive at policy-relevant conclusions. Both Prof Virgil Hawkins of Osaka University and I have briefed, and will continue to brief, African policy makers, so hopefully they could use this information within their own organisations,” he added.

Mapping the way forward

Papers will be presented by delegates from Osaka University, University of Pretoria, Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, the Volksblad, the Free State Legislature, the Institute for Global Dialogue and Operations, Glacier by Sanlam, and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes.

Details of event

Date: 22 and 23 February 2016
Time: 08:45-16:15 and 09:00-14:30
Place: Albert Wessels Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus
RSVP: Ms Marichen Preller at PrellerMI@ufs.ac.za for catering purposes.

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