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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

Investec guest speaker exhorts South Campus students to ‘give it their all’
2017-02-16

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Video clip
Photo Gallery

The South Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) recently welcomed new first-year and returning senior students during an event in the Madiba Arena. This year marks another highlight for the campus, with the accommodation of 252 students in a brand-new residence named Legae (meaning “Home”) on the property.

Prof Daniella Coetzee, Campus Principal, reminded the gathered students, “You are a fully-fledged Kovsie, and this is the first day of the rest of your life. You are now going to really work on your dreams.”

She went on to relate the life story of Albert Einstein, renowned physicist, making the point, “When you work, when you persist, when you take it one day at a time, you never lose sight of your dreams, and you will reach your dreams. I can promise you one thing, dear Kovsies, that if you work hard, plan hard, and you put your mind to it, it will definitely be worthwhile.”

Setlogane Manchidi, Head of Investec’s Corporate Social Investments division and guest speaker, told his colourful life story and academic journey. He described his ‘a-ha moment’ in high school, “when the penny dropped and everything started making sense” on a visit to his mother’s employer in Johannesburg, after going to the cinema to watch a movie: “This is the life I want to live.”

Description: 'South Campus Opening Tags: South Campus, Opening
Andrew Tlou, Investec Social Investment; Carol Bunn,
UFS Institutional Advancement; Setlogane Manchidi,
Head of Investec’s Corporate Social Investments division;
Tshegofatso Setilo, UAP Programmes Manager; and
Francois Marais, Director: Access Programmes,
at the South Campus opening and orientation day.
Photo: Eugene Seegers


This led to a new resolve in his scholastic efforts at the rural school back home in Ga-Phahla, Limpopo, and he started studying over weekends and by candlelight at night. Mr Manchidi shared this lesson with the students, “At that point, I lost my so-called ‘friends.’ I learnt this: Peer pressure is real. If you want to deal with peer pressure, surround yourself with the right peers! Surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart. Surround yourself with people who will not turn you back from your path.” He later succeeded in obtaining a bursary to study at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Mr Manchidi concluded by exhorting students to aspire to greatness, “Every time you settle for what is expected, you rob yourself of the opportunity to prove yourself out of the ordinary. Choose to exceed expectations. Give it your all!”

 

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