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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

I don’t see myself as a star, says Wayde
2016-09-20

Description: Wayde and Rynhardt celebration Tags: Wayde and Rynhardt celebration

The achievements of Wayde van Niekerk and his
fellow Kovsie athlete, Rynardt van Rensburg,
at the Olympic Games, were celebrated during
a celebration ceremony for them on
15 September 2016 in the Callie Human Centre.
Photo: Johan Roux

The environment surrounding him has changed a lot over the past few weeks, but Wayde van Niekerk doesn’t see himself as superstar. The 400 m Olympic champion is embracing being back home and is feeling the love of the Kovsie family that helped him reach great heights.

“I see this (the Bloemfontein Campus) as a place where I can find peace,” the University of the Free State (UFS) athlete said at a celebration ceremony on 15 September 2016 for him and fellow Olympian, Rynardt van Rensburg. The event celebrated their achievements after participation in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Their coaches, Tannie Ans Botha and Derek van Rensburg, were also honoured.

Van Niekerk looks ahead
“I am always excited to get back home,” Van Niekerk said. Everybody who means something to him is in Bloemfontein and on this campus. “I thank you for believing in me. I am only 24 years old and still have quite a few years left to keep on doing what I do.” He also conducted the official opening of the new KovsieFit gymnasium in the Callie Human Centre.

According to Prof Nicky Morgan, acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector, the attendees had “Wayde fever”. “We can’t really say thank you enough – at least for the association we have had with you (Van Niekerk) over the years.”

Rynardt didn’t expect best in Rio

 “I see this (the Bloemfontein Campus)
as a place where I can find peace.”

Van Rensburg reached the semi-finals in Rio and ran a personal best of 1:45.33 in the 800 m. “If we don’t have support, we won’t be able to do this,” he said.
Although his form was improving prior to the Olympics, he didn’t expect to run a personal best. “My dad (and coach) kept believing in me and telling me it is possible to do.”

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