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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

RSG Crossword Tournament helps to celebrate language
2016-07-27

Description: RSG Crossword Tournament  Tags: RSG Crossword Tournament

Dr Annette de Wet (left), Assistant Director
of the Unit for Language Development in
the Centre for Teaching and Learning at
the UFS, Albe Grobbelaar from XWord,
Prof Angelique van Niekerk, Head of the
Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German
and French, and Prof Lucius Botes, Dean of the
Faculty of the Humanities, during the launch
of the RSG Crossword Tournament.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

Sometimes it is difficult for language departments to be topical and to show their relevance for the people out there. However, with the RSG Crossword Tournament, this became possible and Afrikaans could be celebrated in a positive manner. This is what Prof Angelique van Niekerk, Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the University of the Free State (UFS), had to say about this initiative.

Interest during the Vrystaat Arts Festival exceeded all expectations. Altogether, 46 participants from across the country participated on 15 and 16 July 2016. Ilse van Hemert from Pretoria was crowned as the first South African crossword champion.

New dimension to language milieu

Prof Van Niekerk said people are familiar with crossword puzzles from the media, and it was the first time that a tournament like this was presented to the public in South Africa. “This tournament brings something like linguistics and linguistic sensitivity to the fore,” she said. “It is another dimension of the language milieu.” This is exactly why her department would like to see it grow in future.

Wordplay serves as inspiration

The idea for the tournament is based loosely on the film, Wordplay (2006), which is set in New York, and the annual New York Times Crossword Tournament. The South African Tournament was presented in conjunction with the crossword group, XWord, Prof Van Niekerk’s department, and the radio station RSG as brand sponsor.

Crossword puzzles and blockbusters crosswords completed

“This tournament brings something like
linguistics and linguistic sensitivity to
the fore.”


Albe Grobbelaar from XWord said the winners were determined on a points basis. “Competitors had to complete two crossword puzzles and one blockbuster crossword. The difference between the two is that a blockbuster’s clues are within the blocks or grid, but with the crossword, you have white and black blocks with the clues separate on the outside.”

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