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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

Free State Arts Festival and the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French (UFS) launches first crossword tournament in SA
2016-06-14

History will be made at the Free State Arts Festival, which will this year be held in Bloemfontein from 11 to 16 July. For the first time ever in South Africa, a Crossword Tournament will be presented for the public, where Afrikaans word and language lovers can test their knowledge and speed against other competitors.

With the help of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, as well as Xword, the RSG Crossword Tournament will be presented on the university’s campus. In several knockout rounds on Friday 15 July, contestants will have to complete three different types of crosswords compiled by the experienced crossword team at XWord.  Points will be awarded according to a formula measuring accuracy and speed. The top ten contestants will go through to a semi-final on Saturday 16 July, after which three finalists will be selected to compete against each other in the Grand Finale. 

Apart from the coveted title, DIE RSG BLOKRAAIKAMPIOEN, prizes which are up for grabs include a year’s access to the news platforms of Netwerk24 for all three finalists, a variety of dictionaries from Pharos and Longman-HAT, a wide range of crossword books published by LAPA, and many more.

Interested persons can find more information about the RSG Crossword Tournament at www.xword.co.za. Links are also provided to free crosswords which can be printed to practice ahead of the tournament. Interested people are requested to send their names, cellphone numbers, and Email addresses to Albe Grobbelaar at XWord in advance in order to facilitate the planning for the expected number of participants. The address is albegrobbelaar@gmail.com

The cost for participants is R50, which is payable on the day of the elimination rounds at the venue on campus, South Block 1. The entrance fee includes a copy of XWord’s popular book, AfriBlokkies Blokkiesraaisels.

(Further inquiries: Albe Grobbelaar – 082 447 1900)

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