Paperight is super proud to announce a new distribution partnership with Oxford University Press Southern Africa. Starting today as a pilot project, over 30 of OUPSA’s excellent study guides will be available to print at any Paperight outlet.
As one of the country’s most respected educational and scholarly publishers, OUPSA is committed to supplying South African learners and teachers with high-quality, curriculum-compliant support from primary to tertiary level. By becoming the latest publisher to sign up with Paperight’s distributed print-on-demand system, OUPSA ensure that learners throughout South Africa will have improved access to their excellent support – more specifically, their excellent and comprehensive study guides for Grades 10 through to matric.
A total of fifteen subjects are catered for in the Exam Success series, along with specialised guides to the most regularly-prescribed English drama, poetry and short fiction. Exam Success guides also emphasise a holistic approach to studying, offering mock exam questions, practical studying suggestions and timetables to learners, helping them to maximise the amount of knowledge and insight they gain from the time they spend in front of their books.
The agreement also fortifies Paperight’s ever-expanding library of educational and scholarly texts, available through any of the 100-plus outlets that have signed up with Paperight to date, overcoming continuing deficiencies in book distribution in South Africa, and helping children to acquire the support they need to achieve maximum success at school and beyond.
Arthur Attwell, Paperight’s founder and CEO, said: “Having worked for many years in educational publishing, I know that every person in this industry wants to make books easily available to every South African. It’s great to be working with OUPSA to tackle this challenge in new ways. This collaboration is also especially meaningful for me, primarily because I started my own publishing career with OUPSA fourteen years ago.”
Great resources need not be locked up in expensive bookstores in big cities. Now OUPSA Exam Success guides are available anywhere, and you can find a full list of them here.
Last week, Paperight’s Outlet Relations team held a workshop for high school principals from the Khayelitsha area at the Silulo Academy at Khaya Bazaar, Khayelitsha. The aim of the workshop was to introduce principals to both Paperight and Silulo, one of Cape Town’s biggest copyshop and training academy chains, and the opportunities they present to students by helping them acquire education materials, like matric exam packs and textbooks from Paperight, that can be bought and printed at any one of Silulo’s dozen internet cafes in the Western Cape.
Our partnership with Silulo represents our ongoing commitment to bringing access to books and learning materials to areas traditionally neglected by commercial booksellers and book distribution models.
Past exam papers are one of the most valuable resources that any student preparing for their matric exams can have. A long set of difficult exams is a daunting task for anybody, but by reading through or practicing their knowledge and skills on past papers, matric students can become familiar with the questions and challenges that await them in the most important year of their education.
The South African Department of Basic Education (DBE) ostensibly has links to all past papers somewhere in bowels of their complicated and policy-heavy website. But, contrary to expectations, they aren’t completely available or accessible.
As a company obsessed with both education and ease of access, one of the first things we wanted to do at Paperight was to offer complete and organised packs of past matric exam papers and memos that Paperight outlets could freely print out for their customers. After six months, we’ve finally done it. Some might think this isn’t the biggest deal, and up until six months ago, we didn’t think it’d be a huge task either. What transpired, however, was something altogether much more difficult than we ever could have thought.
The first hurdle we found was that a substantial portion of the links to papers on the DBE’s website – as many as 110 of them – either don’t work or, equally as often, take you through to an incorrect document. E-mails and phone calls to employees at both the DBE and the Western Cape Department of Education (WCED) were mostly responded to with the insistence that all of the papers and memos were indeed online. Others that understood the issue and were kind enough to give us their time asked for a list of papers we needed, but then found they couldn’t help us.
After three months of trawling through provincial DBE websites and numerous emails back-and-forth, we decided to visit WCED personally in Cape Town city centre to get the over-100 papers and memos we needed to compile our packs. It took over an hour of skulking around stairwells and numerous CCTV-surveilled corridors to find somebody who could help us. Taking our flash drive and a list of exams, he disappeared behind a metal gate for twenty minutes. On his return, we thought the wait to have a complete set of exams was over. Alas, not: he had given us the wrong exams.
We eventually gave in and decided to buy sets of matric exams from EduMedia, the WCED’s educational resource arm. They were inexpensive, at R20 each for a full set of one year’s matric exams, but they too were incomplete. They did, however, give us many of the papers we needed that the DBE couldn’t physically or digitally give us for free.¹ Through this patchwork of different sources, we’d achieved our goal, four months later and using the efforts of three well-connected full-time employees.
One question came up between Paperight team members every time we hit a snag: how is the average matric student supposed to do this? Matric students should not be forced to go through undue inconvenience or cost to simply access a complete archive of past papers to help them prepare for the culmination of their schooling careers.
Accessibility is the main problem. Not only do the most comprehensive sets of matric papers available cost money, they are also mostly only accessible in South Africa’s major centres. (EduMedia, for example, only has one physical branch, in Mowbray, Cape Town; matric exam papers aren’t listed on their online shop.) Even more fundamental than this, however, is that most of the avenues for students that the DBE or other bodies provide for them to get their study materials from are either costly, or reliant on broadband internet access through a computer, something to which large swathes of the South African population still have little or no regular or affordable access. Added to the fact that these online resources are predominantly in English and provide a hodgepodge of uncompiled and disorganised documents, a huge percentage of South Africa’s students are presented with major impediments, over and above any other challenges they might be facing.
Paperight, however, is making matric exam papers easier to access. By putting de facto bookstores, potentially in every town in South Africa, through internet cafés, schools and copyshops, matric students can access and print out complete ready-prepared packages of all the past paper resources they need, literally at the click of a button. While it might not be a perfect system (Paperight is, at this stage, a service that requires an outlet to have an internet connection, after all) it’s a vast improvement on the systems that currently exist: Paperight exam packs are readily-available, comprehensive and free to access. No more digging in the bowels of unintelligible government websites, no more trudging through irrelevant policy documents and jargon-laden text, and no more shelling over money for something that should be easy to access.
So, with great pride and relief, we’re very happy to say: if you or someone you know needs matric exam papers, you can find a full list of our available exam packs here.
¹Not to mention that the EduMedia packs only supplied us with papers that have been used in the Western Cape. For papers for province-specific subjects, such as First Additional and Second Additional Languages, we (and learners, by extension) were forced to rely on the DBE, with typically poor results.
Do you need to prepare for your matric exams but can’t find past papers to help you study? You can find comprehensive collections of official matric past papers, memos and appendices on Paperight! Here are links to all of our matric exam packs for non-language subjects:
Paperight is proud to announce that is has partnered with the African Books Collective to extend and strengthen the reach of African literature, both in the home continent and abroad.
Owned and run by a collective of over 100 independent African publishers, the African Books Collective seeks to increase the visibility and strength of indigenous African literature and scholarship. Based in Oxford, ABC has already been highly successful in Europe and North America, bringing the works of internationally-celebrated authors and scholars like Meshack Asare (Ghana), Linus Asong (Cameroon) and Otok p’Bitek (Kenya), along with over 2000 other titles, largely in English, French and Swahili, to larger audiences.
A product of pan-African cooperation, the publishers that make up ABC are from 21 African countries and include university presses, NGOs and research institutes, as well as commercial ventures. Despite being “fiercely commercial” on behalf of its constituent members, as well as offering massive infrastructural and marketing support to its authors, ABC itself is a strictly non-profit body.
Now, ABC looks to further extend its influence with its agreement to offer Print on Demand titles through the new Paperight website.
Paperight enables businesses and organisations – including copy shops, schools, libraries, NGOs and others – to print books out for customers legally and easily. By turning any printer and Internet connection into a bookselling business, Paperight instantly creates bookstores everywhere – providing access to books where traditional book distribution cannot go.
Arthur Attwell, CEO of Paperight, said, “We’re thrilled to be working with ABC, since our aims align so well. ABC already do extraordinary work making African authors available to a broad audience through retailers and distributors worldwide. It’s a privilege for us to be able to increase access to these books even the remotest places.”
Justin Cox of African Books Collective said: “ABC is very happy to be making our content available through Paperight. Not only will we secure valuable income for African publishers which might have ordinarily been lost to unauthorised copying or sharing we will, more importantly, address the need for the wider dissemination of African published books while also receiving new revenue for purchased content available through Paperight’s network of on-the-spot copy shops.”
A selection of books from the African Books Collective will be made available on Paperight from 1 June.