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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

Trauma, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation Studies attracts global attention
2016-06-27

Description: Lerato Machetela  Tags: Lerato Machetela

Lerato Machetela is on her way to
Ghent University in Belgium where
she will spend 10 months working
alongside experts in the field of
historical trauma.
Photo: Eugene Seegers

Research excellence is one of the major driving forces at the core of the University of the Free State (UFS). This striving for academic distinction has found embodiment within Trauma, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation (TFR) Studies. Headed by Research Fellow and Senior Research Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, the research unit is raking in achievements consistently.

Cornell University Distinguished African Scholar Award
Leading by example, Prof Gobodo-Madikizela received the prestigious 2016 Distinguished African Scholar Award from Cornell University recently. Being honoured with this award affirms an unusual depth of knowledge and experience in a field related to the recipient’s own work. Through this award, Prof Gobodo-Madikizela is now also affiliated with the Institute for African Development and the Psychology Department at Cornell University.

Ghent University fellowship in historical trauma
Another member of TFR has caught international attention. Lerato Machetela – a PhD student at the research unit – received an invitation from scholars at Ghent University in Belgium. Machetela will leave in September, where she will spend ten months in Ghent with experts in the field of historical trauma. She will be affiliated to their university’s Cultural Memory Studies Initiative and the Psychology Department. When Machetela submitted her PhD proposal on transgenerational transmisison of trauma among the youth in Jagersfontein to the UFS Psychology Department panel, “it was hailed as a unique project, and a first for the department,” Prof Gobodo-Madikizela says.

Description: Naleli Morojele Tags: Naleli Morojele

Naleli Morojele conducting the research
in Rwanda that has formed the basis of
her new book, Women Political Leaders
in Rwanda and South Africa: Narratives
of Triumph and Loss.

Book explores triumph and loss of female political leaders
TFR cultivates thriving authors actively, the latest being Naleli Morojele, who is pursuing a PhD in the field of Political Studies. Soon, Morojele will be launching her book, Women Political Leaders in Rwanda and South Africa: Narratives of Triumph and Loss. Through the stories of significant female Rwandan and South African leaders, the reader gains insight into these women’s early-life experiences, struggles, and successes. Perhaps even more pertinently, Morojele’s book also exposes the ways in which gender inequality still works to smother their roles as citizens and politicians.

 

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