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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

Trevor Manuel and Max du Preez among the recipients of honorary doctorates at UFS graduation
2016-07-02

Description: 4 Hon Docs Tags: 4 Hon Docs

The UFS awarded four honorary doctorates
at its Winter Graduation ceremonies.
The recipients are from left Max du Preez,
Dr Reuel Jethro Khoza, Prof Joel Samoff
and Trevor Manuel at the UFS Chancellor’s
Dinner on 30 June 2016.

Photo: Johan Roux

He is excited about the young minds he saw and interacted with at the graduation ceremony of the University of the Free State (UFS). This is what Max du Preez, one of South Africa’s leading journalists and political analysts, said after receiving an honorary doctorate.

According to Du Preez (Humanities), he was inspired by the Winter Graduation ceremony on 30 June 2016 in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus. He is happy to finally also call the UFS his alma mater. He grew up in Kroonstad and is a true Free Stater, but previously graduated at the Stellenbosch University.

The UFS awarded four honorary doctorates – the others to Prof Joel Samoff (Humanities), Trevor Manuel and Dr Reuel Jethro Khoza (both Economic and Management Sciences) – and two Chancellor’s medals at the morning ceremony on 30 June 2016. Chancellor’s medals were awarded to Antony Osler and Marguerite van der Merwe (née Osler).

Manuel impressed by amount of soul

At the Chancellor’s Dinner, which was held in the Centenary Complex on the Bloemfontein Campus on 30 June 2016, Du Preez said he feels honoured. He said South Africans must embrace the diversity of the country, and the UFS is a good example. “If the University of the Free State can make it, South Africa can make it.”

Manuel, a former South African Finance Minister, said he is honoured by the amount of soul he experienced from Dr Khotso Mokhele, UFS Chancellor, and Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS. “We cannot tolerate what is wrong (in the country) and need to push the boundaries of what is right,” he said.

UFS stands out regarding understanding


Dr Khoza, a distinguished thinker and businessman, also thanked the UFS at the Chancellor’s Dinner. “We shall strive to be known less for what we say, but rather more for what we do,” he said about the country.
According to Prof Samoff, Professor in Africa Studies at Stanford University (USA), “South Africa has committed itself to building a democratic, non-racist, and non-sexist society”. “Where the University of the Free State stands out, is in its understanding that societal change – ‘transformation’, to use the current terminology – is not an outcome, but a process. A difficult process.”

 

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