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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

Small-town girl dreams big
2017-02-16

Description:Andiswa Methu   Tags: Andiswa Methu   longdesc=

Andiswa Methu, a first-year
BCom Accounting student at
Kovsies and one of the
top-achieving matriculants
in the country.
Photo: Siobhan Canavan

Andiswa Methu will miss her mother, but will work hard to send her first salary to the woman who raised her to stand proud as one of the top-achieving matriculants in the country.

Excited to make new friends at UFS

The 17-year-old Andiswa, from Petrusburg in the Free State where she attended Ipetleng Secondary School, is a first-year student at the University of the Free State in 2017. She is studying BCom Accounting and will become part of the Welwitschia female residence on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Although she was not too keen on moving away from home, Andiswa is excited about making new friends and loves meeting new people. “I’m going to miss my mother so much and I know that this will be a different environment for me, but I’m excited for the journey that lies ahead.”

Working hard to make her mother proud

The first-year, who loves working with numbers, says she will work hard to make her mother, Nozibonelo Methu, proud. “I am going to study accounting,” she says. “My first salary will definitely go to my mother.”

 

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