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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

Farewell to our #FaceOfFacebook
2017-05-02

Description: Reuben Davids, FaceOfFacebook Tags: Reuben Davids, FaceOfFacebook

Reuben Davids, outgoing #FaceOfFacebook ambassador
for UFS digital channels
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

Reuben Davids has been our most featured #FaceOfFacebook since the campaign’s inception in 2013. As the star of more than 20 videos for the UFS digital platforms in less than a year, Reuben has been the embodiment of a Kovsie ambassador. As we say goodbye to this campus celebrity, we wish him all the best with his future plans and endeavours. Reuben shares a few thoughts with us about his term as Kovsies’ #FaceOfFacebook.

Much fun and many a lesson learnt

What did it mean to you to be the #FaceOfFacebook and how did it change your life?

“I’ve always wanted to be in front of the camera. So being the #FaceOfFacebook meant I could fulfil that dream. It changed my life in the sense that I’m much more confident now when speaking to a large audience.”

What was your most challenging moment?

“Trying to look good during a Facebook livestream. For example, on the ‘Krav Maga’ [self-defence] one. That was pretty tricky, and I had to keep my pose, regardless of the pain!”

And your funniest?

“All the bloopers we’ve ever had. Those were the funniest for me.”

Biggest lessons learnt?

“I learnt how to manage my time, to think on my feet, and how to come up with ideas in the moment and make them work.”

What advice would you give to any budding #KovsieCyberSta?

“Just come with your creativity. It’s definitely a learning experience. It’s not just work, it’s much more enjoyable! The team you are working with is amazing, so come with fresh ideas, and stay as committed as possible. It’s not hard, because it’s such a joyride.”

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