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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

Chairperson of UFS Council appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal
2016-06-17

Description: Chairperson of UFS Council appointed Tags: Chairperson of UFS Council appointed
Judge Ian van der Merwe

Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council, has been appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal as from 1 July 2016. His appointment, together with that of Judge Connie Mocumie, was announced by the office of President Jacob Zuma last week.

Both judges will act in the Supreme Court of Appeal this month until their appointments come into effect next month.

“The university is excited and proud that its Chairperson of Council has achieved such great heights in the legal profession. Judge Van der Merwe brings enormous calm, deliberation and wisdom to the governance of the institution, and the UFS regards itself as privileged to have a man of his stature in the leadership of Council,” said the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen.

Judge Van der Merwe is an alumnus of the UFS and was elected as Chairperson of the Council on 20 November 2009, and re-elected on 16 November 2012. He was re-elected to serve for a third term on 11 September 2015.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
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Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
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