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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 lodges appeal against judgment handed down on 12 September 2016 regarding its new Language Policy
2016-09-16

The University of the Free State (UFS) takes cognisance of the decision of the High Court in Bloemfontein on Monday 12 September 2016 in respect of the AfriForum and Solidarity application to halt the implementation of the UFS’ new Language Policy, pending the finalisation of the appeal process.

The legal advice received by the university management is that the 21 July 2016 judgment, with respect, errs in a number of areas and thereby sets legal precedent which is problematic. Furthermore, the Full Bench stated on Monday in a second application that they had been persuaded that compelling reasons existed that another court might come to a different decision, thereby granting the UFS leave to appeal the 21 July 2016 judgment.

The UFS has, under the circumstances, lodged an appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal against the order and reasons therefore handed down on 12 September 2016, which allows the implementation of its earlier judgment.

The UFS further intends to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal against the judgment of 21 July 2016, if direct access is not granted by the Constitutional Court, in order to protect its interests as well as the interests of its community.

Related articles:
Implications of new Language Policy for first-year students in 2017: 17 October 2016
UFS to proceed with appealing to Supreme Court of Appeal regarding new Language Policy: 29 September 2016
UFS to lodge application to appeal judgment about new Language Policy: 22 July 2016
High Court ruling about new UFS Language Policy: 21 July 2016
UFS Council approves a new Language Policy: 11 March 2016

 
Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

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