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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

Student protest against integration of the Main Campus residences
2008-02-21

The management of the University of the Free State (UFS) is extremely concerned about the actions of some of our students who have committed public violence, crimen injuria and damage to property last night (Wednesday, 20 February 2008) on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

The management condemns these criminal acts in the strongest terms. We are concerned about what appears to be an orchestrated campaign to frustrate the implementation of the new residence policy on diversity.

We remain committed to ensuring a safe campus for staff and students to engage in the academic activities of the UFS and will take the necessary legal steps to avoid a repeat of these incidents.

Normal academic and other activities are continuing and have not been disrupted. We are appealing to all staff and students to remain calm.

We note the contents of a memorandum that was handed to the management regarding the integration of our student residences.

We remain committed to the implementation of the Council approved policy on increasing diversity in our residences as part of a new institutional culture for the UFS.

We also remain committed to engaging with students on these and other matters. In fact, several meetings have taken place over the past few weeks with the Student Representative Council (SRC) and with primes about student issues.

We would like to appeal to student leaders to follow the established channels to address their concerns.

These channels have been successful in the past in addressing student concerns and we see no reason why they cannot succeed in the current situation.

The management will meet with student leaders as soon as is possible to engage with students on these matters.

However we want to reiterate that criminal behaviour and misconduct will not be tolerated.

Media Release
Issued by: Anton Fisher
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 3422
Cell: 072 207 8334
E-mail: fishera.stg@ufs.ac.za  
21 February 2008
 

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