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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 Paralympic athlete Louzanne ready for Rio
2016-09-12

Description: Louzanne ready for Rio Tags: Louzanne ready for Rio

Rufus Botha (coach, left), Louzanne Coetzee,
and her guide Khothatso Mokone during a training
session for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Photo: Johan Roux

“Coetzee is someone with a lot of perseverance. She is becoming a world-class athlete with the help of her guide, Khothatso Mokone.” These were the words from Rufus Botha, the coach of 23-year-old Louzanne Coetzee.

Coetzee, who works at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State (UFS), said that the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro was never a big dream for her, because she never thought she was good enough to make it, but God had a different plan for her life.

Louzanne and her formidable team

Coetzee said that she still struggles to come to terms with the fact that she is competing at the Paralympics and experiences a rollercoaster of emotions. “I am excited, nervous, and confused all at the same time.”

According to Botha, who has been her coach for the past four years, Coetzee and her guide have such a unique rhythm and work together well. “After Mokone, also a former Kovsie, stepped into the picture, everything just escalated.”

The 2016 Paralympics and beyond

“Coetzee is someone with a lot of
perseverance and is becoming a
world-class athlete.”


“Making the Paralympic team is already a bonus. The next target we are aiming for, is for her to reach the finals in the 1500 m,” Botha said.

Coetzee and Mokone were included in the South African team to participate in Rio from 7 to 18 September 2016. Her heat takes place on 15 September 2016 and the finals of the 1500 m on 17 September 2016.

Coetzee’s main goal after the Paralympics is the World ParaAthletics Championships in London 2017.

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