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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

UFS Department of Computer Science and Informatics motivates programming success among learners
2015-04-23

From Sentraal High School are from the left: Albert Dreyer (full marks, Grade 9); Corlé van der Walt (full marks, Grade 10); Janco Venter (full marks, Grade 10); Soné du Pisanie (full marks, Grade 10) en Handré Venter (Grade 9).

A group of learners from the Free State, who are taught at and by the University of the Free State’s Department of Computer Science and Informatics (under the Python project), came first in the Talent Search round of the South African Computer Olympiad (SACO).

According to Dr Anelize van Biljon, senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Informatics, the Olympiad is presented in three main rounds: the Talent Search, the Application Olympiad, and the Programming Olympiad.

At the UFS’s Department of Computer Science and Informatics’ Python project, pupils from various schools in Bloemfontein attend programming classes where they are taught by staff and students of the department. These students are benefitted by the opportunity to transfer their knowledge to others. All the classes are free of charge.

Anelize explains: “The name was chosen because we use the Python programming language. It is a language with considerable appeal – not one of the fastest – which can be learnt relatively quickly, and which conforms to SACO requirements. The purpose of this programming is to implement algorithms (the learner is given a problem, makes a plan to solve it, and does the necessary programming). Thus, it is not about the looks of the programme, but about its effectiveness and speed.”
Anelize is the initialiser and co-ordinator of the Python project. "I started this project in 2010 in the Department of Computer Science and Informatics for learners from Grades 6 to 12 to encourage them to take the subject. These classes exposed them to something more than school work. I enjoy this kind of competitions and am also very involved with Maths Olympiads.

Achievements such as these are good advertisements for the Department of Computer Science and Informatics,” she said.

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