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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

UFS sports scientist joins Cricket SA
2016-05-11

Description: Ross Tucker Tags: Ross Tucker

Prof Ross Tucker South Africa’s premier sports scientist
Photo: Supplied

Considered as South Africa’s premier sports scientist, Professor Ross Tucker has been appointed to be part of an official panel of experts to assess the performance of Cricket South Africa (CSA). Tucker is a Professor of Exercise Physiology at the University of Free State (UFS) School of Medicine. On joining the UFS, his plan was to help place the University onto the global map, and to become a leading voice in the sports science landscape. His involvement in sports around the world is fulfilling his vision.

(Professor Ross Tucker from @UFSweb has been appointed to be part of an official panel of experts to assess the performance of @officialCSA) - Tweet.


Having an enviable reputation in the world of sport worldwide, he was named in the Mail and Guardian’s list of Top 200 Influential Young South Africans, and by the Minister of Sport as one of the 100 Influential people in South African Sport in 2013.

The official panel, commissioned by CSA, is to review the performances of elite Cricket teams - primarily the Proteas, but also the U/19 and women’s teams - with the aim of addressing the challenges encountered by the teams. Alongside other members, including former Protea player, Adam Bacher, and world-class rugby player and 1995 national captain, Francois Pienaar, Prof Tucker is to evaluate what has worked and what hasn’t, in order to make recommendations, and guide strategies and tactics that will yield some World Cup successes.

 

On his vision for Cricket South Africa, Prof Tucker said he sees the opportunity as a chance to drive an elite, high-profile agenda, and set an example for all sports to follow. “We want to improve South African cricket, helping to chart a course for winning the next World Cup and dominating the world”, he said.

 

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