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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 hosts celebration ceremony for Wayde and Rynardt
2016-09-13

“I really appreciate each and every one of you.
It is something I will always cherish.”

Video clip
Photo Gallery

“I will continue to try and make you guys proud and represent Kovsies in a positive light.” With these words Wayde van Niekerk thanked his University of the Free State (UFS) family and emphasised the importance of this community in his life.

After returning from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 400 m Olympic champion made his first appearance on the Bloemfontein Campus at Mooimeisiesfontein on 9 September 2016. This formed part of a hero’s welcome on an open-top bus, arranged by the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation. The bus also stopped at Hoffman Square, Grey College, the Mangaung Outdoor Sports Centre, and Twin City Mall in Bloemfontein.

Description: Wayde parade Tags: Wayde parade

Wayde van Niekerk thanked his fellow Kovsies for
their support.
Photo: Johan Roux

However, UFS students and staff will have their own opportunity to honour this achievement in true Kovsie spirit with a celebration ceremony on 15 September 2016 on the Bloemfontein Campus. Van Niekerk and fellow Olympian Rynardt van Rensburg, who reached the semi-finals in Rio and ran a personal best of 1:45.33 in the 800 m, will be welcomed back with this special event.

A humble Van Niekerk isn’t known for many words and his brief visit at Mooimeisiesfontein was no exception.

“Thank you to everyone who came out to support me,” he said from the open-top bus to a festive crowd close to the Main Entrance of the UFS.

“I really appreciate each and every one of you. It is something I will always cherish.”

 



Event:
Celebration ceremony for Wayde van Niekerk and Rynardt van Rensburg
Date: 15 September 2016
Time: 17:30
Place: Callie Human Centre (Bloemfontein Campus)

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