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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 establishes Centre for Education Development
2007-09-26

At its meeting on 14 September 2007 the Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) took a number of key decisions on matters recommended by the Executive Management of the university for its consideration or approval.
 
The Council gave the green light for the merger of the Section Upgrading of Education (School of Education) and Research Institute for Education Planning (RIEP) to create a single unit for education development. The qualifications and courses currently offered by these two units will henceforth be offered by the newly formed unit. The new unit will be known as the Centre for Education Development.
 
Under this new dispensation, amongst others, the functions of the unit will be extended to include other in-service training of teachers and empowering courses and qualifications as well. Some of the existing RIEP courses will be converted into credit-bearing short courses in more learning areas than are presently available, and that the focus will also be on offering short courses as the need may arise. Research will become a prominent function of this new unit.
 
The Council has also approved the reinstatement of the Department of Genetics as a stand-alone department. Currently Genetics is a sub-discipline of Plant Sciences. Its reinstatement as an independent department will have several advantages for the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, as well as the university, namely:
 
- with its own identity, Genetics as a subject will attract more students, through which the UFS will be able to get more subsidies.
- postgraduate students who leave the university for others will have an incentive to stay.
- researchers in Animal Genetics and Behavioural Genetics will be able to fulfil their full role.
- service delivery to the industry will result in the generation of third-stream income.
 
The Council also extended the terms of office of the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Johan Henning, and that of the Director of Finance, Mr Chris Liebenberg, for a further five years each.
 
The Council further appointed Dr Elias Nyefolo Malete as the Campus Principal of the UFS Qwaqwa Campus for a term of three years. Dr Malete has been acting in that position prior to his appointment.
 
Other matters involved the condonation of the Council’s 1995 resolution to sell the Hertzog House in Goddard Street in Bloemfontein, and the approval of the sale of another house in Biddulph Street in Harrismith.
 
Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@mail.ufs.ac.za
26 September 2007

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