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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

Postgraduate Open Day: Mapping the journey
2016-06-27

Description: Postgraduate Open Day 2016 Tags: Postgraduate Open Day 2016

Prospective postgraduate students listen
attentively at the Postgraduate Open Day
Photo: Charl Devenish

“Whether you are a psychologist, a theologian, an economist, a political scientist, a chemist, or a physician, the purpose of knowledge is to improve the lives of others.”

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), was speaking at the opening of the Postgraduate Open Day, held on our Bloemfontein Campus on 22 June 2016. In addition, he highlighted these grounds for considering postgraduate studies:

•    To be globally literate and globally mobile
•    To gain the satisfaction of understanding the world more deeply
•    To serve as an inspiration to others to further their studies

Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, said, “One of the benefits of postgraduate studies especially is that they enable you to think critically. This capacity helps you to understand society better—even outside your field of expertise.”

Prospective postgraduate students were assisted in selecting a suitable postgraduate degree, as a first step in mapping out their postgraduate journey at the UFS.

Kgosi Makhetha, who is currently studying a degree in Business Administration, agreed with Prof Jansen, saying, “Studying gives me great satisfaction. I truly believe that postgraduate studies will give me an edge in the current labour market.” Kgosi plans to enrol for an Honours degree in Industrial Psychology in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

Prof Jansen concluded by exhorting students to “study to make a difference.”

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