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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

Meet the person behind the new #FaceOfFacebook
2016-05-19

Reuben “R” Davids

The votes have been counted, and we have a winner! After much excitement and a fairly close contest, Reuben “R” Davids emerged victorious from the top five contestants selected by our panel of judges. We chatted with the vibrant and enthusiastic Mr Davids to get a sense of the person who will be our Facebook ambassador for the next year.

What does the “R” stand for?

“Interestingly, some also know me as Vuyo. It's not a name on my birth certificate or anything; I just really like it. And I also coincidentally found out that it means “joy/happiness”, and I do enjoy being happy.”

What is your field of study, and how far along are you?

“I am pursuing a career in the economics field as a third-year BCom Accounting student in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences here at the University of the Free State.”

Are you originally from Bloemfontein?

“Yes, born and bred. I've been a Bloem Kid since day one.”

How is it that you ended up here, studying at the UFS?

“The UFS has always been one of my favourite universities. During my high school period, I was constantly exposed to people from my neighbourhood as well as schoolmates who performing excellently here at UFS, and it didn't go unnoticed. So I have always been drawn to the prestige that UFS carries.”

Which residence are you in, and what do you enjoy most about res life?

“I currently stay at home with the family, but for my first 2 years of study I resided at ConLaurês. What I enjoyed the most about res life is the freedom and independence that you get. It also enables one to participate in campus life much easier. It actually helps one grow and mature into the adult you're supposed to become with all the challenges and responsibilities that you're faced with.”

What do you hope to accomplish during your term as the #FaceOfFacebook?

“I enjoy the art of presenting (as well as being an MC), and being the #FaceOfFacebook will enable me to exercise that skill. Also, my interaction skills will be exercised. That being said, I would like to have those skills developed further by the end of my term as #FaceOfFacebook.”

What is your motivation in your studies, in taking part in this contest, and in life?

“I am an adrenaline junkie. I like taking on challenge; so what I normally do is I set a certain goal for myself and then take on the challenge to achieve that goal. That's my number one motivating factor. And I think I'm also inspired by the failures and successes of myself and of those around me.”

Reuben has already been featured in a #PeopleOfKovsies post on Facebook, and appeared in his first Facebook video covering the Open Day on our Bloemfontein Campus.

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