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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

Growth in scholarly books ‘is remarkable’
2016-09-16

Description: Scholarly Books 2016 Tags: Scholarly Books 2016

The UFS is proud of the variety of books and
scholarly articles published by scholars
in various fields.
Photo: Charl Devenish

The UFS has shown steady growth in its output of scholarly articles. Dr Glen Taylor, Senior Director of Research Development, says “the UFS has shown remarkable growth in the output of scholarly book publications over the recent years." The 13,83 subsidy units from scholarly books in 2010 has grown to 98,52 in 2014, elevating the university to fourth position nationwide. 

“It is encouraging for the research office to see that the number of books has increased over the years, together with the units we receive for subsidy, but also the steady increase in the quality of our scholarly books in general,” he said.

Contributors to the growth in scholarly publications include Dr Christian Williams of the Department of Anthropology, celebrated journalist Zubeida Jaffer, as well as JC van der Merwe, the Deputy Director of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ), and Dionne van Reenen, researcher and PhD candidate at the IRSJ. Dr Williams received the 2016 Distinguished Scholar Book Prize at the official opening of the UFS earlier this year. The book, National Liberation in Postcolonial Southern Africa: A Historical Ethnography of SWAPO’s exile camps, is the first full-length scholarly monograph on SWAPO and Namibians in exile. 
 
The 13,83 subsidy units from scholarly books in 2010 was approximately a 10% increase in outputs from 2005 to 2010. In 2010, the higher education institution sector as a whole produced 401,68 units from scholarly books. The UFS contribution of approximately 3,44% put the university in tenth position. 

“The increase in subsidy for scholarly books should stimulate the sector further, and an increase in scholarly books is expected, which complements the university research output strategy to become a leading research-intensive institution,” Dr Taylor said.

 

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