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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

Postgraduate studies can open doors to a successful career – Top 50 Economics students advised
2016-10-18

Description: Top 50 Economics students  Tags: Top 50 Economics students

Economics 4: Students Veda Hendrikse and Merrylyn Shumba, Chris Scheepers (Sanlam), Dr Johan Coetzee and Johannes de Klerk (Sanlam).
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar

The Department of Economics in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences held a reception for its top 50 students on 10 October 2016 on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Speaking at the event, Mr Rocco Carr, business development manager at Glacier Investments by Sanlam, encouraged students to enrol for postgraduate studies in Economics and Financial Economics. He said the South African economy was not stable at the moment due to various factors such as politics. However, it was interwoven with the global economy and circumstances might change to make the country prosperous again in the future. ”The interest rates, the upcoming presidential election in the US, the economic changes in China, Brexit, and the economic changes in the European Union are some of the factors that are at play in the South African economy,” he said.

He further encouraged students to be prepared for the workplace by developing their work ethic and learning to take responsibility as this would help them grow a successful career despite economic volatility.

Dr Johan Coetzee, acting head of the Department of Economics, said the three honours programmes – Economics, Financial Economics and Investment Management, and Applied Econometrics – were internationally accredited and could open many doors to students. “Training is not only about what you can do, also how you think and how you manage people. Managing people has become more important than ever before,” Coetzee said.

The department hosts its top 50 students each year to expose them to courses they can take at postgraduate level and the career opportunities that lie ahead.


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