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26 February 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Eugene Seegers
Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Coetzee, South Campus Principal, Tshegofatso Setilo, Director Access, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector Operations
Prof Francis Petersen, Prof Daniella Coetzee (Principal: South Campus), Tshegofatso Setilo (Head: Access Programmes), and Prof Prakash Naidoo (Vice-Rector: Operations) on the South Campus for the welcoming of first-years.


“Welcome to the South Campus of the University of the Free State!” Addressing a packed Madiba Arena, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said he was happy to see not only first-year students, but also parents and guardians, student leadership, and support staff from both the Bloemfontein and South Campuses.

 “I would like to congratulate each of our first-year students for making the decision to come to Kovsies to further your studies here. But I would also like to thank you for making this choice,” he continued.

Prof Petersen further emphasised that the students’ experience and success as individuals are important to the UFS as an institution; therefore, academic and support staff are on hand to guide them through their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals. “We will surely take care of you,” said Prof Petersen. He also reassured parents and guardians that their loved ones would be well looked after.

The Rector also focused attention on the role of student-leadership structures, such as the newly-formed Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) and South Campus SRC, members of which were present in the audience. He thanked them for playing a key role in the student constituency, highlighting their support and guidance to help first-years cultivate a sense of belonging at the UFS.

Turning back to first-year students, Prof Petersen stated that they have the unique opportunity to study on a campus specifically focused on developing their full potential, a campus where they can realise their dreams. “Your arrival on the campus marks a new chapter in your life. This chapter is slightly different, as you are the author thereof. The previous chapters in your life were largely written by others—your parents, guardians, families, teachers, and others. You will now be the main author in the next chapter of your unique story.”

“At Kovsies, we believe in developing students in their totality as human beings, not just the academic side. May your time with us equip you to make a success of your life after university!”

Prof Petersen’s Message to First-year Students
  1. Take responsibility for your academic programme.
    • Keep your focus. Study and study hard. You will reap the rewards and see the advantages of making success in your studies a top priority.
    • Make sure that you have enough time for your studies; balance your social life and your time set aside to study.
  2. Realise and remember that you are not alone.
    • If you find things difficult, seek help.
    • Our Department of Student Counselling and Development has trained staff and tailor-made programmes that can assist you.
    • Look after your mental health—and look after each other’s mental health.
  3. Make the most of your time at Kovsies.
    • Join one or more of the student organisations; why not try something new?
  4. Embrace difference and diversity.
    • Get to know students who are different from you.
    • You will lose valuable opportunities to grow if you only associate with your own all the time. It is important to get to know students who are different from you. It could be someone from a different part of the country, or from another country, a different ethnicity, a different religion, someone who has different views from yours, or who has different interests and perspectives.

News Archive

Multimillion rand donation to boost UFS schools
2013-02-05

At the launch were Dr Cobus van Breda, Director of the Science-for-the- Future Unit at the UFS, Mr Makhetha Botsane from the Free State Department of Education Mrs. Elizna Prinsloo, Programme Manager of the Family Maths and Family Science project and Mr Graham McCulloch, Free State representative of the Ilima Trust.
Photo: Kelly Abrahams
05 February 2013

The University of the Free State’s UFS) Family Maths and Family Science project has received a R1 million sponsorship from Old Mutual for 2013. This is a three-year project whereby the university’s School of Open Learning aims to demystify mathematics and science in the early school years, as stated in their mission. The launching ceremony took place on 1 February 2013 at the UFS Campus.

The sponsorship was made available by Old Mutual, but will be managed by the project management group, Ilima Trust.

The UFS received R30 million altogether from Old Mutual for the use on various projects.

Except for the Family Maths and Family Science project, the Schools make over project and the Internet Broadcasting Programme will also benefit from this donation.

“Ilima has a hands-on relationship with different projects and is the public face for the FM & FS sponsorship,” said Mr Graham McCulloch, Ilima Trust representative for the Free State.

“Today is the first step on the long road to improving math and science in the country,” McCulloch said.

Dr Cobus van Breda, Director of the Science-for-the-Future Unit  says the Family Math and Family Science Project makes science and math accessible to children and their parents in the early years, with the aim of developing positive attitudes towards these often difficult school subject.

“This project aims to empower educators, parents and student educators by iving support and training in hands-on teaching methodologies.”

Learners, educators and parents from 18 schools in Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo will benefit from this project. Teachers will receive training at the UFS and then return to their community to train parents and to teach learners. Teachers will also receive activity material to use in classrooms.

“The selection of the 18 participating schools took place by identifying feeder schools of secondary schools from the UFS School Change Project, trying to create a whole-school development,” Van Breda said.

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