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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

UFS has a contingency plan for load shedding
2008-02-13


The University of the Free State (UFS) has put in place a contingency plan to ensure that there is minimal disruption to the normal academic operations of its Main Campus in Bloemfontein whenever load shedding occurs.

The plan includes alternative arrangements for certain lectures that fall within the load-shedding schedule provided by Centlec, the emergency power generation for certain lecture halls and buildings, as well as the functioning of the UFS Sasol Library. This is in addition to emergency power equipment that has already been ordered for the larger lecture-hall complexes.

Fortunately, the Qwaqwa Campus has adequate emergency power generation capacity. The situation on the Vista Campus in Bloemfontein is being monitored, but the same guidelines will apply as on the Main Campus.

On the Main Campus in Bloemfontein the following alternative arrangements regarding the timetable for evening classes will come into effect when load shedding occurs:

  • An alternative module and venue timetable has been compiled so that classes that cannot take place on weekdays as a result of load shedding can be accommodated on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Classes that are presented in the timeslot 18:10 to 21:00 on Thursdays are alternatively accommodated in the same venues at the same times on a Friday.
  • Classes that take place in the timeslot 20:10 to 22:00 on Wednesdays are alternatively accommodated in the timeslot 08:10 to 12:00 on Saturdays, in a few cases in different venues from those scheduled initially.
  • After consultation with students, lecturers will decide whether the alternative timetable will apply when load shedding does indeed occur or whether the alternative timetable will be a permanent arrangement.

Some other steps that have been taken regarding the functioning of lecture halls include:

  • The design and installation of emergency power equipment in all the large lecture-hall complexes within the next few months. This includes the Examination Centre, Flippie Groenewoud Building, the Stabilis and Genmin lecture halls.
  • The ordering of a larger generator for the Agriculture Building to simultaneously provide essential research equipment such as refrigerators, ovens and glasshouses with emergency power.
  • An investigation into the optimal utilisation of present emergency power installations.
    The purchasing of loose standing equipment such as battery lights, uninterruptible power supplies, loose-standing generators, etc.

The UFS Sasol Library will continue as normal as far as possible though there may be some minor changes as a result of load shedding. The library has an emergency generator that will be used in the event of load shedding to allow students and other users to exit the library. If load shedding occurs during daylight hours, the library will remain open with limited services. If the load shedding occurs after 6 pm (18:00), all users will be allowed to exit and the library will remain closed until the next day.

A comprehensive investigation into the university’s preparedness for and management of long term power interruptions is also receiving attention.

More information on the contingency plan for load shedding can be obtained from the UFS website at www.ufs.ac.za/loadshedding.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
13 February 2008


 

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