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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 lays criminal charges against students
2008-02-28

Statement by Mr Anton Fisher, Director: Strategic Communication at the University of the Free State (UFS)

The management of the University of the Free State (UFS) has today instructed its attorneys to formulate criminal charges against four students who were involved in the production of an extremely offensive and racist video.

This follows other action taken late yesterday to prohibit two of the four students from the Reitz men’s residence from the campus. The other two students who can be seen in the video have since completed their studies and are no longer on campus.

Further steps are in the pipeline as the internal disciplinary procedure of the university must also take its course.

The Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof. Frederick Fourie, has condemned the video and the gross violation of human rights that it portrays and has promised to deal swiftly and firmly with this matter.

This morning Prof. Fourie met personally with the workers who were tricked into taking part in the video and apologised to them face to face. Counselling is being arranged for the workers.

The management has also suspended lectures today in a proactive step to allow the emotions of staff and students to calm down. Lectures will resume tomorrow (Thursday 28 February 2008).

This follows a protest march earlier today against the extremely offensive and racist video which shows white students staging a mock “integration” of black workers in the residence.

After the march the management received memoranda from student organisations and two trade unions, NEHAWU and UVPERSU, about the video.

The students and the unions have made certain demands that the management will consider and respond to as soon as possible.

While the march proceeded peacefully, there have been sporadic incidents of intimidation and damage to property. Five students were arrested.

Prof. Fourie has appealed to students to act in solidarity with the management against the scourge of racism and to support the UFS in its policy to integrate student residences.


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  
27 February 2008
 

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