Private sector funding of desperately needed learning resources

Grade 12 learners from six LEAP Science and Maths schools across the country on Monday received a large donation of Paper Video learning resources to help them with their preparations for the final examinations starting in October.

A sizeable financial donation from RGA Reinsurance Company of South Africa to the Actuarial Society of South Africa’s Education Trust was used to buy the 564 Paper Video books and DVDs needed by the underprivileged learners.

Paper Video is an educational enterprise that seeks to provide learners with sets of past exam papers for Mathematics, Accounting, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences where each question is linked to a video solution with an experienced teacher talking the learner through the problem and the underlying concepts. Resources are available online, as well as in hard-copy formats.

Thanking RGA, the Actuarial Society and Paper Video, John Gilmour, Executive Director of LEAP Science & Maths Schools, praised Paper Video’s innovative approach to teaching.

“Paper Video is exemplary in how it focuses on teaching students how to learn and approach problems, versus just teaching them concepts or equations,” said Gilmour.

LEAP schools provide free education to learners from economically marginalised communities. There are currently six LEAP schools in South Africa – two in Cape Town and in Johannesburg, and one in Pretoria and Limpopo.

Esethu Mehlo, one of the Grade 12 learners who received the Paper Video Maths set said, “I’m going to use Maths in the future because I’ve applied to study maritime navigation. I have to pass everything and I’m striving for 80% or 90% in Maths.”

“Last week I used Paper Video for the first time for an hour, and I was able to write a test after with no difficulties. It’s like the teacher’s next to me, telling me to do this, and this.”

“The videos are the most similar to what we get in exams,” said another Grade 12 learner Lonwabo Mfinyongo. “Through the years with so many different teachers and different concepts, Maths has been tough. Now I can do it myself and get it right.”

Paul Maree, co-founder and Maths teacher at Paper Video, thanked RGA and the Actuarial Society’s Education Trust for the financial support provided to bring much needed learning resources to economically disadvantaged students.

Addressing some of the Grade 12 LEAP learners, Maree encouraged them to use the resources available and see past mistakes as learning opportunities for their upcoming final exams.

“If you’re not happy with your preliminary exam marks, you still have time,” said Maree. “And remember – if you get something wrong, that’s the first step to getting it right.”

Mike McDougall, CEO of the Actuarial Society, explained that the Actuarial Education Trust was established to fund the resources needed by learners to help them achieve sufficient grounding in key subjects that will ultimately help them achieve meaningful matric results required for careers that offer good job prospects.

The Trust accepts contributions from individual and corporate donors with the aim of funding the supply of high quality resources to individual learners and maintaining the free Paper Video offering. As a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) Trust, all donations receive tax relief and the Trust provides BEE certificates for projects supported in accordance with legislation.

RGA Reinsurance Company of South Africa