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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

Unforgettable moments at Spring Graduation
2016-09-12

Description: Spring Graduation 2016 Tags: Spring Graduation 2016

Graduates during the graduation ceremony.
Photo: Johan Roux

The conferment of a degree is an experience one is bound never to forget. Students from the University of the Free State (UFS) once again experienced these unforgettable moments.
 
The Spring Graduation ceremony enlightened the spirits of Kovsie graduates as they walked across the stage in the Callie Human Centre on 15 September 2016. With a new season comes new opportunities, and the 442 graduates made sure they grab this opportunity with both hands.

A total of 91 diplomas/certificates, 313 bachelors, and 38 honours degrees were conferred on graduates from six faculties of the UFS.

The guest speaker at both graduation ceremonies (09:00 and 14:30) was Dr Molapo Qhobela, Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation (NRF). Dr Qhobela was appointed in this post in January 2016. He obtained a PhD in Plant Pathology from Kansas State University in the United States and a BSc in Botany and Zoology from the University of Zimbabwe.



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