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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

Badminton players show their class
2007-06-04

Kovsie badminton players showed their class at the 2007 All African Championships held in Rose Hills, Mauritius during May, just as they did last year in Algeria.

In the individual championships in the men's double event Chris and Roelof Dednam again successfully combined for gold with a victory in the final over Steve Malcouzane and Georgie Cupidon of the Seychelles. Chris Dednam and Michelle Edwards also made the final
round in the mixed double event, but were beaten by Georgie Cupidon and Julliette Ahwan (Seychelles) to settle for a silver medal.

In the men's singles event Chris Dednam equalled last year's performance and was awarded with bronze, having lost 24-22 in the third set in the semi-finals in a marathon match against Eli Mambwe (Zambia). It was therefore once again in the men's singles where South Africa could not vest their supremacy in Africa. But, Chris improved his tally of medals to gold, silver and bronze. Roelof also showed good form by making the quarter-finals in the singles as well as the mixed doubles.

Fellow Kovsie, Wiaan Viljoen, joined the Dednam brothers and the rest of the South African team for silver in the team competition.

A week earlier, in the Mauritius International tournament, Chris won gold by winning the mixed doubles event with Michelle Edwards (against the same Georgie Cupidon and Julliette Ahwan), while the Dednam brothers had to settle for silver in the men's double event losing to Germany's Thomas Tesche and Jochen Cassel.

Chris and Roelof Dednam have qualified, because of their current position on the world ranking table, for the men's doubles in the World Badminton Championships to be played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August this year.
 

Roelof and Chris Dednam

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