Tag Archives: matric

Adopt-a-copy-shop/Adopt-a-school Project

To increase Paperight study-material sales (and better understand our copy-shop partners), we decided as a team to individually adopt a registered Paperight copy shop and try to partner them with a local school. The aim was to test various methods of promotion (specifically to parents of high school students) and to simultaneously build close relationships with a small batch of copy shops that would ultimately become Paperight Premium Outlets in future. For more on that, read Yazeed’s entries.

Despite our best intentions, this project did not come together according to plan.

One of our major in-house hurdles has been finding the time to get out of the office, to spend time in our adopted copy shops, as well as visiting local schools on their behalf. We managed to find time to do so, but not easily and certainly not as often as we should have done.

Once we had identified schools to visit, we submitted briefs to Nick for personalised promotional materials. Specifically, we took posters and flyers to the schools highlighting educational materials (past exam papers, study guides and textbooks) available through their local Paperight registered copy shops, emphasising the copy shops’ competitively low pricing. The materials themselves were succinct enough to avoid confusion about how the Paperight/copy shop partnership works and the flyers doubled as ordering forms to cut down on the necessary steps to make a sale.

Once the posters and flyers were printed, we liaised with school secretaries for permission to bring them onto school campus. The posters were placed in obvious places, such as in the secretaries’ offices, in entrance lobbies, near school shops and near matric classrooms. Similarly, the flyers were given to matric class teachers to hand out to students in registration class.

more often than not the copy shop managers were either unwilling to do so or too busy to do so

Each team member managed to make the beginning steps to build the relationships, but we all found that we needed our chosen copy shops to really step up to sustain the partnership. However, more often than not the copy shop managers were either unwilling to do so or too busy to do so.

Apart from this, we found that our promotional materials led to only small spikes of sales. I believe this is directly related to the materials being present on the schools’ campuses and not visible enough to the students’ parents. I’m also quite sure that students made paper airplanes out of the flyers rather than giving them to their parents. The kinds of students who ultimately ended up in store buying past papers and study guides were typically the kind that did not need a flyer or poster to discover Paperight because they’re particularly proactive with regards to their studies. This failing on our part informed our marketing efforts that became the Matric Exam Campaign.

This project did not intend to change the schools’ official book purchasing protocols, but instead aimed to turn parents over to using Paperight . Ultimately, parents are the ones who have the most invested in their child’s success and it was on this personal interest that we hoped to ignite support for the Paperight project.

If I could pick out one overarching lesson learned from all this, I would say that the principal of any school sets the benchmark and with their support of a new initiative or supplier, the rest of school will fall into line. This has been proven by Yazeed’s wonderful work with Pelikan Park High School. Despite the difficulty of building a strong relationship like this, the rewards are manifold and certainly worth the work put it. More relationships like this could carry Paperight well into self-sustainability.

Matric exams update 2013

In May I facilitated the update to the matric past exam papers. These were the best selling items on the site. One of the best ways to prepare for the matric exams is by going through past papers to get an idea of how the questions were asked. Sometimes entire questions are simply transplanted from an old exam into the current one, so it is a fantastic tool for students. On the site we had single year packs and multi-year packs available for each subject. These would need to be updated each year as the papers became available on the Department of Basic Education’s website. I downloaded all of the 2012 papers and began working on creating the single year packs, while the freelancers worked on adding the 2012 papers to the multi-year packs. Tarryn trained me on how to use Acrobat and InDesign and before long I was churning out matric exam packs and other books. The metadata for the updated exams also had to be updated to reflect the fact that they now included papers from 2012. This had to be done on the site as well as on the master metadata sheet.

At the end of May I left Paperight to take up an internship at the US Copyright Office in Washington, DC for eight weeks, and to visit the Copyright Clearance Center in Boston. I had an absolutely amazing time researching foreign copyright law for the Register’s Office, and exploring DC. After what felt like ages I was excited to come back to Paperight in mid September.

Matric exam panic in the attic

skawara-matric-packs_20120817The first large project that I participated in at Paperight was the sourcing and collation of matric exam packs, under Tarryn’s guidance.

The plan was to bring together every matric exam paper, memo and addendum from 2008 to the present (then, 2012) into one, easy-to-access resource for matrics. This resource would make Paperight attractive to potential copyshop partnershops, and would give us a reason to approach schools. Seeing as the papers were in the public domain, our idea was to make them free to print, so anyone could make use of the service. This would also make Paperight extremely attractive to copy shops as they wouldn’t need to shell out any money for credits up-front, and could get familiar with the system over time.

government education websites and resources had (and probably still have) a lot of dead or wrong links, and nobody in the Department of Basic Education were able to supply us with the missing exams

Initially, Tarryn and I (and, previous to my arrival, our previous intern and my friend Michal Blaszczyk) trawled the internet – especially the websites of the different provincial Departments of Education – looking for all the papers we needed. In the end, however, we found we had over 100 documents outstanding between us. In essence, government education websites and resources had (and probably still have) a lot of dead or wrong links, and nobody in the Department of Basic Education were able to supply us with the missing exams.

In a fit of desperation a few weeks into the collation process – and while Tarryn and Arthur were both overseas and I was left to man the office alone – I drove to the Western Cape Department of Education at the Grand Parade, snuck into the building, and stalked the halls asking people if they might be able to give me all the past papers for all the subjects “for my little sister”. After being chased out of rooms and down depressingly-lit and security-barred corridors, I eventually managed to find a man who would take my flash stick through a security gate to his computer to give me the exams. Unfortunately, it turned out, even his selection of exams were incomplete and thus completely useless for us.

Some weeks later, after much swearing and complaining about the state of government websites and systems, we caved in and bought disks from EduMedia, the WC DoE’s multimedia arm, at their Mowbray offices. These too weren’t comprehensive, but they filled in enough gaps for us to be able to go ahead with our planned claim that we had the most comprehensive collection of past matric exam papers and memoranda available for free in South Africa – an extremely helpful PR hook.