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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

Two Kovsies in Baby Boks group for U20 Championship
2017-05-12

Description: ' 000 Baby Boks Tags: Baby Boks 2017

Scrumhalf Rewan Kruger, left, and prop Kwenzo Blose, both
rugby players from the University of the Free State, will
soon be playing in their first and second Junior World
Tournament respectively.
Photo: SA Rugby

Although he will soon be playing in his first Junior World Cup, Rewan Kruger believes his experience of international rugby will help him succeed. Last year, the scrumhalf was part of the South African schools team playing in the U19 series against Italy, Wales, England, and France.
Kruger and prop Kwenzo Blose, who will be playing in his second World Tournament, are two players from the University of the Free State that were recently included in the final Baby Boks group of 28. The World Rugby U20 Championship will take place in Tbilisi, Georgia from 31 May to 18 June.

A taste of international rugby

The 19-year-old Kruger says it is hard to describe how thrilled he is about his inclusion. “The whole group of players were gathered in a room and the next moment the coach [Chean Roux] played a video on his computer, announcing the team that will be playing abroad.”
The former Grey College, Bloemfontein, pupil has already had a taste of international rugby. “I believe the experience I gained in the international U19 series will help me a lot in the upcoming U20 World Rugby Championship. I already have an idea of the pace of an international game.”

Team can improve on previous year

Blose, KovsieSport’s Junior Sportsman for 2016, says the South African U20 team could do better than the fourth place they got in Manchester, England in 2016. “South Africa is a strong rugby nation and we have set high standards for ourselves. Therefore, we will do our best to win the tournament. We have a great group and I believe we have the potential to win the trophy.”
The former lock from Glenwood High School, Durban, says it has helped his team to play practice matches against senior teams such as the Griquas. “The preparation was tough and I think it will benefit the team.”

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