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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

Graduates encouraged to emulate the greats
2016-07-06

Description: z 2016 Winter grads Tags: z 2016 Winter grads

The University of the Free State Winter Graduation ceremonies
took place on 29 and 30 June 2016 on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Photo: Johan Roux

Trevor Manuel and Max du Preez among the recipients of honorary doctorates at UFS graduation 

Take up the challenge, make things happen, and emulate the greats. This was the overwhelming theme of messages from speakers to graduates at the Winter Graduation ceremonies of the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Prof Joel Samoff, Professor in Africa Studies at Stanford University (USA), the graduands are the “new generation of analysts, researchers, and practitioners”, and should “assume the responsibility for keeping your senior colleagues on a productive path.” Prof Samoff, who received an honorary doctorate from the UFS on 30 June 2016, was the guest speaker at the afternoon graduation ceremony on 29 June 2016.

The UFS awarded a total of 482 Master’s and doctoral degrees on 30 June 2016 – 53 doctorates and 429 Master’s degrees – in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus. On 29 June 2016, diplomas were awarded in the School of Financial Planning Law, as well as certificates and diplomas in education on the South Campus.

“You are smarter
than you think.
Smarter than other
people think you
are, and smarter
than the country
thinks you are.”


Rise above South African standards


According to Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, South Africans have become use to a low standard of human decency, entertainment, and academics. He encouraged the graduates to rise above it.

“You are smarter than you think. Smarter than other people think you are, and smarter than the country thinks you are.”

Make impact like honorary doctorates


Dr Khotso Mokhele, UFS Chancellor, asked the recipients of honorary doctorates, Prof Samoff, Max du Preez, Trevor Manuel and Dr Reuel Jethro Khoza, and of the two Chancellor’s medals, Antony Osler and Marguerite van der Merwe (née Osler), to face the graduates at the morning ceremony on 30 June 2016. “I challenge you to look at them and to emulate them,” he said. “May it transform you to be like them in 10, 15 or 20 years.”

Dr Mokhele thanks Prof Jansen as leader


Dr Mokhele made special mention of Prof Jansen, who will step down as Vice-Chancellor and Rector on 31 August 2016, as these were his last UFS graduations. He thanked Prof Jansen for his major contribution to transformation at the UFS. “You are not only a Vice-Chancellor, but also a project leader,” Dr Mokhele said.

 

Click here to see a photo gallery of the graduations.

Click here to see a list of distinctions and special awards.

 

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