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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

Incidents on the Bloemfontein Campus
2016-08-25

Statement by the Institutional Forum of the University of the Free State (UFS) - Released by Dr Willy Nel (Chairperson) on behalf of the Institutional Forum of the UFS

 

Two incidents happened on campus the past week, which were brought to the attention of the university management:

1. The university management received a complaint on 16 August 2016 that a student had sprayed liquid in the face of a security guard at one of the university gates. The reason appears to be that three students were sent back to their residence to collect their student cards in order to exit the campus – as required – and this might have caused the reaction. In video footage, it is clear that a student on the passenger side was responsible for the spraying incident. Statements have been taken from the three students in the car as well as from the affected security guard. The student claims that the liquid was water from his gym bottle. Regardless, charge sheets were prepared and delivered, and the disciplinary hearing has been scheduled on an urgent basis for 1 September 2016.

2. An incident happened on the Bloemfontein Campus on 23 August 2016, with a test being distributed in a class where the answer to one of the questions was included in the Afrikaans version, while it was excluded in the English version. The matter was investigated and it was decided that the written test will be set aside and a new test, covering the same scope, will be compiled for all students; the new test will be subject to external moderation; and external moderation of tests in the particular department will take place until the end of the year. The lecturer concerned claims that this was a genuine mistake and not intentional, in that guidelines for that one question were removed after a decision to add further examination questions, which made the guidelines obsolete; in the process of revising the papers, the lecturer made a mistake and did not remove the guidelines for both the English and Afrikaans versions. Nonetheless, the university management has decided on a disciplinary process involving the lecturer concerned, given the seriousness of the matter.


Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Tel: +27 51 401 3422/2707 or +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za  | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393


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