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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

Colleges build community through Academic School Projects
2016-06-13


The South College leadership visited CommTech Secondary School as part of their academic
community engagement project. From left is Alexanne Ridge, Wilmie van der Wal, Edith Le Roux,
Tuli Molebalwa, Jean-Claude Naude, Mbali Skosana and Lerato Bale.
Photo: Eddie de Wet.
















Residence Life
at the University of the Free State (UFS), in collaboration with the Community Engagement office, decided to pilot a School Project within colleges for 2016.

The aim of the project is to invest in, and have impact on, not only schools and the learning environment, but also the volunteering spirit of college members. The project triggers critical and reflective thinking as well as the creativity aspect of development to contribute ultimately to our social responsibilities.

Each college will visit a school throughout the year, to serve its academic needs, and to foster relationships in the broader community. Recently, North College visited Bainsvlei High School in Bloemfontein to share information and success stories about academic life as a Kovsie student. At CommTech Secondary School in the city, South College delivered sponsored tables and chairs to improve the overall learning environment.

North College consists of Madelief, Tswelopele, Vergeet-My-Nie, Veritas, and Welwitschia residences while South College includes Armentum, Emily Hobhouse, Marjolein, Kestell, NJ van der Merwe, and Villa Bravado.

“It is a great opportunity for college members to interact with the community, and it serves as motivation for the learners. The learners were very enthusiastic about our visit, and I trust that the South College students will motivate them to complete their high-school career and join us at UFS”, said Wilmie van der Wal, College Coordinator.

The projects will continue during the second semester with the different colleges. Everyone can look forward to significant life-changing stories. A quote by Archbishop Desmond Tutu serves as motivation in this regard: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”.

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