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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

Internationally-renowned futurist proposes innovation in corporate management
2016-05-10

Description: Pieter Geldenhuys  Tags: Pieter Geldenhuys

Pieter Geldenhuys, guest speaker at the seminar, who mapped the future of corporate management  (left) with Dr Vic Coetzee, Senior Director: Information and Communication Technology Services at the UFS (right).
Photo: Hatsu Mphatsoe

Humans need to adapt their thinking to the world’s changes. This is Pieter Geldenhuys’s conviction.

The Information and Communication Technology Services (ICT) at the University of the Free State hosted a seminar on 22 April 2016 at the Bloemfontein Campus. Geldenhuys, the Director of the Institute for Technology Strategy and Innovation at North-West University and internationally-renowned futurist, presented his views on technology, innovation, and corporate management on this occasion.

Geldenhuys, a well- known speaker, academic, and futurist, is in the business of identifying opportunities in the changing technological and social landscape with the aim of assisting companies to prepare for the future, while being an active agent in defining it. Lately, he has been exploring the concept of a new kind of management science, which he believes is a prerequisite for institutions such as ours.

This management science incorporates physics in improving corporate management. “We have an unbelievable grasp of the world of physics,” he said, suggesting that we use our knowledge of nature to capitalise on individual and collective strengths within institutions.

He said that minor changes can change one’s future or that of an organisation completely. He even went as far as to state that the culture of an organisation is the one that determines how well you do. Relating to the adaption of organisations in a constantly changing and dynamic environment, Geldenhuys advised that, “when faced with disruption, don’t retaliate; accept.” 

By making use of different tools, such as technology aw well as social and business trends, Geldenhuys is adamant that corporations and institutions will adapt easily to the world’s complex systems.

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