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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

Pre-story: Inauguration of Prof F Petersen as 14th Rector of the UFS
2017-05-08

“At the UFS, we want to produce graduates for the world, and we need to ensure that we use our knowledge to uplift society”
— Prof Francis Petersen, 14th Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS)

This week marks the first stage of the official welcoming and inauguration of Prof Francis Petersen as the 14th Rector of the UFS, who assumed his duties on 1 April 2017. 

Proceedings will commence on our Qwaqwa Campus, with a function at which the community is to welcome the incoming Vice-Chancellor and Rector. The event on Thursday 11 May 2017 is expected to attract a wide spectrum of community leaders in the area. Speakers to welcome Prof Petersen will include representatives from the two trade unions, National Health Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and UVPERSU, as well as representatives from the Student Representative Council (SRC), Thabo Mofutsanyana Education District, and the House of Traditional Leaders.

On Thursday 18 May 2017, the South Campus in Bloemfontein hosts a welcoming ceremony for the new Vice-Chancellor and Rector, including a number of vocal performances and messages from various campus stakeholders. On Thursday afternoon, the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ) will also facilitate a panel discussion in the Albert Wessels Auditorium (AWO) on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The inauguration proceedings culminate in an event in the Callie Human Centre on Friday 19 May 2017 at the Bloemfontein Campus, with number of performances by musicians and school choirs to further embellish the function. Key stakeholders will also have the opportunity to convey their messages of welcome to Prof Petersen. The formal inauguration ceremony will take place on the Bloemfontein Campus on the same day.

As the above events take place, this article will be updated with the most recent photographs and other information. 

 

Inauguration Events


Qwaqwa Campus
Date:    Thursday 11 May 2017
Venue: Rolihlahla Mandela Hall, Qwaqwa Campus, Phuthaditjaba
Time:   10:00

South Campus
Date:    Thursday 18 May 2017
Venue: Mandela Arena, South Campus
Time:   10:00

Bloemfontein Campus
Date:    Friday 19 May 2017
Venue: Callie Human Centre
Time:   10:00

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