Paper Video launches in SA to “revolutionise” exam preparation


South African startup Paper Video has launched its Android app, claiming to revolutionise the exam preparation process for students with its offering of CAPS-aligned educational videos.

Social enterprise Paper Video claims to have created the biggest offering of CAPS-aligned educational videos in South Africa, with over 6,000 exam questions and video solutions across Grades 10, 11 and 12 in four subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences (Biology) and Accounting.

Whereas most students prepare for their exams by working through past papers, which are widely available with written solutions, Paper Video adds a new online dimension. If a student gets stuck on a question, they can scan or enter a code next to the question with their mobile device or computer, and a video will pop up, in which an experienced teacher explains the solution, step by step.

Each video includes an explanation of the relevant theory and concepts, as well as guidelines for how to approach the question and a detailed answer. The startup says this allows students to access their own “private tutor”, whenever and wherever they need to, for the specific questions they are struggling with.

Students can use the resource on any device capable of accessing the internet, while a DVD alternative is available for students who do not have access to the internet connection or cannot afford the cost of data. In the interests of wide availability, 40 per cent of the offering has been made available for free, with paid options for those that wish to access the entirety of the resource.

Paper Video ran a pilot project towards the end of 2014, and saw the site attract over 2,000 online users who watched over 350 video solutions more than 37,000 times in the two months prior to the final Mathematics exams. The startup has now expanded its offering.

A partnership has also been signed with the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) to ensure the resource is available to all students, including those from underprivileged backgrounds.

“The most meaningful thing we can do for the youth of this country is to provide them with sufficient grounding in key subjects that will ultimately help them achieve meaningful matric results required for careers that offer good job prospects,” said Mike McDougall, chief executive officer (CEO) of ASSA.

To achieve this, ASSA has established the Actuarial Education Trust, which accepts contributions from individual and corporate donors with the aim of funding the full Paper Video offering to students who would not otherwise be able to afford it, while also subsidising the free Paper Video offering.

“With the help of the Actuarial Society’s Educational Trust we have been able to provide our full offering of Mathematics exam questions, along with the video solutions on DVDs, to over 3,000 matric students across the country who would otherwise not have been able to afford the full resource,” said Christopher Mills, co-founder and concept architect.

“This has been made possible by sponsorship from Investec and SAB on separate projects, with both donations having gone through the Actuarial Educational Trust.”

Mills hopes more sponsors will join the Paper Video collaborative initiative to bring quality teaching to every classroom in the country.

“With additional funding we will also be able to expand our offering to include more grades and subjects, as well as offering our solution videos in other languages. We would also like to add subtitles to our videos for deaf and hearing-impaired students,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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