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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

Prof Van den Oever gives students a different perspective
2016-05-06

Description: Prof Van den Oever gives students a different perspective Tags: Prof Van den Oever gives students a different perspective

Prof Annie van den Oever from the Netherlands presented a series of guest lectures on media technologies to students of the Film and Visual Media Programme at the University of the Free State (UFS). Here from left is Chris Vorster, lecturer in Drama and Theatre Arts, Prof Van den Oever, and Dr Pieter Venter, Senior lecturer at Drama and Theatre Arts.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

She played a part in conceptualising the Film and Visual Media Programme at the University of the Free State (UFS), and sees film from a perspective different from most young South Africans.

According to Chris Vorster, lecturer of the UFS BA Honours degree in Film and Visual Media, this is one of the reasons why Prof Annie van den Oever’s visit is of such great value. The actor, who is a lecturer in Drama and Theatre Arts, believes it is important to expose his students to influences outside their normal experience.

Prof Van den Oever, an extraordinary professor at the UFS since 2011, presented a series of guest lectures on media technologies from 11-14 April 2016 at the Audio Visual Studio on the Bloemfontein Campus. She is a senior researcher for Film at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and an Associated Researcher for Film at Paris 1, Panthéon Sorbonne, in France.

Another milieu

“It is invaluable for students, in any field of study, to receive as many influences from the outside. Therefore, it is important to have someone here from another milieu and context. And academically, she is outstanding,” says Vorster.

Vorster’s students are also exposed to practical expertise from the industry in the country, not only academics.

Relationship with UFS

Prof Van den Oever says she usually visits the UFS twice a year. Her recent lecture series on media technologies was about the power of visual and film culture today, and how you can understand its powers. “Why strange effects work strongly and why the strange is inserted, because people respond strongly to them,” she says.

Prof van den Oever enjoys meeting new people, and often works with colleagues from the UFS on various projects. She also is full of praise for the management of the university. “It is great to work across cultures, and be part of a university in transition.”

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