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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

UFS Choir excited about Varsity Sing
2016-06-29

Description: 001 UFS Choir Group 2016-06-29 Tags: UFS Choir Group

The University of the Free State choir will
perform in the Sand du Plessis Theatre in
Bloemfontein on 30 June 2016 as part of
the Varsity Sing competition.
Photo: Supplied

“We believe the competition will increase the exposure of the choir, and we will start to be taken seriously by different stakeholders,” says Sive Makombe from the University of the Free State (UFS) Choir Management.

Makombe and Marischa van Zyl, also from the UFS Choir Management, are excited about Varsity Sing, a new choral competition for university choirs. They will compete for the final prize of being crowned as the best university choir in South Africa.

Competition broadcast on kykNET


Earlier this year, Varsity Sports announced their new intervarsity ‘sporting’ venture, the inaugural Varsity Sing. The concept is aimed at boosting and increasing awareness around university choirs. It will be broadcast as a television programme, Varsity Sing, and aired from 14 July 2016 on kykNET on DStv. Twelve universities from around the country will be taking part in the competition.

Support your university free of charge

As one of the competing choirs, the UFS Choir, like the other participating choirs, will with the competition give its members something to work towards. The choir will feature in the fourth round, competing against the Central University of Technology and Mangosuthu University of Technology on 30 June 2016 in the Sand du Plessis Theatre in Bloemfontein.

The show, from 18:30 to 21:00, will be free of charge. This will give the UFS community the chance to come out in numbers. Tickets can be obtained by contacting Tonderai Chiyindiko at chiyindikot@ufs.ac.za or at the door on the night of the competition.

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