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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

SA and Indonesia strengthen educational ties
2016-05-19

Description: Embassy of Indonesia  Tags: Embassy of Indonesia

From the left were Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor at the Department of Political Studies and Governance; Professor Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, Research Professor of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences; Suprapto Martosetomo, ambassador of the Embassy of Indonesia to South Africa; and Prof Theodor Neethling, Head of the Department of Political Studies and Governance.
Photo: Johan Roux

“Indonesia and South Africa share one common trait which is diversity,” were the opening remarks of Suprapto Martosetomo, ambassador of the Embassy of Indonesia to South Africa. The ambassador drew parallels between the two republics at a public lecture hosted by the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the University of the Free State Bloemfontein Campus on 10 May 2016.

Professor Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, Research Professor in the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, presented the lecture on “Managing Political Diversities: The Indonesian Experience.” He outlined the history of Indonesia’s political and economic development, political system, and government’s policy in dealing with political and economic challenges, as well as the lessons learned from its experience.

Diversity and governance
As is South Africa, Indonesia is a ‘rainbow nation’. Being the largest country in the Southeast Asia, it boasts a population of approximately 250 million people, 300 ethnic groups, and 650 local languages. However, despite such diversity, the nation has been united behind the motto of “unity in diversity”, which was adopted when Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945.

Indonesia and SA also bear similarities in terms of a multiparty parliamentary system. Their current Joko Widodo and our Jacob Zuma administrations are governed by policies including anti-corruption, economic prosperity, equity and equality, quality education and healthcare, and maintenance of security.

International relations
The two countries have a long-standing relationship since 1955 when the Asia-Africa conference was held in Bandung, Indonesia. The conference represented solidarity against colonisation.

Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor at the UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance, attributes Indonesia’s success as a product of education and leadership - something South Africa could learn from..“Indonesia like SA has been struggling with how to balance social diversity, democracy, and a political system. Despite this, they have managed to develop a functioning democracy and a vibrant economy. They are one of the top 20 economies in the world, and by the year 2035 will be in the top seven economies in the world, according to the Goldman Sachs, report,” he said.

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