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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

Strydom helps establish SA in international clarinet arena
2016-06-07

Description: Danré Strydom Tags: Danré Strydom

Danré Strydom, clarinet lecturer in
the Odeion School of Music at the
University of the Free State, was
named national chairperson to
represent South Africa in the
International Clarinet Association.
Photo: Odeion School of Music.

Her appointment holds international benefits not only for the University of the Free State (UFS), but also for the rest of South Africa’s clarinet community.

This is the view of Danré Strydom, clarinet lecturer in the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the UFS, on her appointment as South African chairperson of the International Clarinet Association in Columbus (Ohio), America.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that the OSM, with Strydom at the helm as Buffet artist, will present an international clarinet festival on the Bloemfontein Campus from 4 to 8 October 2016. During the International Clarinet Extravaganza, a first for South Africa, world-renowned clarinet players like Eddy Vanoosthuyse of Belgium, Marco Mazinni of Peru, and Sun Zhen of China, will perform.

More contact with overseas representatives
“South Africa’s clarinet community is fairly distanced from the rest of the world,” says Strydom. “In places like Europe and the USA, it is easy to attend a variety of masterclasses, research opportunities, and clarinet festivals.” Her appointment means that she will have more contact with representatives from other countries. “It is also important for composers from South Africa to have their work performed beyond our borders.”

The purpose of the International Clarinet Association is to support projects that benefit clarinet players. She also writes for the association’s journal.

Strydom, who is completing her PhD this year, was honoured some seven months ago with the elite international accomplishment of Buffet artist. She is the first South African to represent Buffet-Crampon.

Clarinet festival offers additional opportunities
Strydom says the clarinet festival hosted by the UFS is “a wonderful opportunity to put the UFS, OSM, and South Africa on the map for clarinet performance, education, and research.”

The purpose of the festival is to expose South African clarinettists and educators to international trends, and to learn from the best in the world. “The festival will prove that the current education, compositional techniques, standard of players, and the quality at academic institutions can compete with the rest of the world. I also believe it will provide opportunities for students to connect with international players and, in that way, open doors for possible postgraduate studies or concert opportunities overseas.”

Watch videos of Strydom:
Video 1
Video 2

Click here to watch other videos of the OSM.


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