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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

A Kovsie crowned Miss Free State 2016
2016-05-27


Mienke van Rooyen, a student at Kovsies and the new Miss Free State at the crowning.  Photo: Wiaan Coffee Photography

A third-year BCom Marketing student, Mienke van Rooyen, continued the legacy of beauties from the University of the Free State.  She was crowned Miss Free State on Saturday 21 May 2016 at the Sand Du Plessis Theatre in Bloemfontein.

In 2015, Van Rooyen took the Miss Intercontinental title at the annual Model SA International competition.  She was overwhelmed by the support received throughout her journey. “I'm still searching for words to describe my appreciation to every single person who supported me up until now. “Thank you” will never be enough. I am proud to be a part of the Miss Free State family. Thank you for believing in me and my dream,” she wrote on her Facebook fan page.

Earlier this year, another Kovsie made us proud. Elizabeth Molapo walked away with the Miss SA First Princess title.

Rolene Strauss also flew the Kovsie flag at Miss World competition in 2015 when she became the reigning queen. Strauss was crowned Miss SA the year before.

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