Tag: 2020

‘Real’ matric pass rate closer to 40%

By Andrea Chothia for The South African

The DA has claimed that the matric pass rate is incorrect after the announcement of the 2019 results by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga’s bluff saying that her announcement of 81.3% for the 2019 matric pass rate is incorrect and the “real” pass rate is in fact 38.9%.

In the statement, the DA congratulated each learner who passed the NSC examination, however had this to say:

“Whilst Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and the Department of Education are celebrating an all-time high matric pass rate of 81.3%, the Democratic Alliance can reveal that the real pass rate is in fact 38.9%.”

Why a pass rate of 38.9%?
DA Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi explained that in 2017, a total of 1 052 080 learners were enrolled in grade 10, yet only 409 906 learners eventually passed matric last year.

“This means only 38.9% of grade 10 learners actually wrote and passed matric,” said Marchesi.

“This is for the most part, due to an extraordinarily high drop-out rate, which means that hundreds of thousands of learners are denied the chance to write matric, let alone pass it,” she added.

Dismally failing system
Marchesi said that this is an indication of a dismally failing system and not a functional and successful one.

“The DA-led Western Cape is the province with the lowest drop-out rate (33.4%) and therefore the highest real pass rate, standing at 54.8%,” said Marchesi.

According to the Department’s calculation and in their opinion, disregarding the drop-out rate, the Free State is the top-performing province with a pass rate of 88.4%.

“The truth, however, is that this province’s real pass rate only stands at 38.4%.”

The ‘real’ national pass rate for 2018 was 37.6%. The ‘real’ pass rate of 2019 is, therefore, an improvement of a mere 1.3%,” the statement explained.

DBE punts national pass rate to shift focus
The DA claimed that for years the DBE has punted the national pass rate because it shifts the focus from their “perpetual failures as an ANC government.”

“The slow poison of drop-out rates between grades 10 and 12 is eating away at the future of the youth of this country,” the statement added.

The statement said that since 2015, which saw the highest number of pupils to write their matric exam, there has been a steady decline each year. It went on to add that another concern is the shocking pass rate from June results of the Multi Examination Opportunity (MEO) – only 7.1% passed.

“Nevertheless, however dismal this percentage is, it is used to inflate the pass rate and when phased out this year, the high drop-out rates will inevitably increase. Only then will we see the real performance of the Department,” said Marchesi.

“If we carry on this trajectory, more than half of all learners who start Grade 1 this year, will never see the inside of an NSC-exam room,” she added.

Successful companies the world over are making the necessary shift of recognising the value of the workplace as a business tool to help hire and keep the best talent.

Linda Trim, director at workplace specialists Giant Leap, says that for South African companies, the overarching imperative must be to see workplace strategy as a business opportunity rather than a just a design challenge and a cost containment exercise, which is why she refers her followers and business owners to read them all here on how they can make their workplace much more efficient, thus not just improving the internal working of the business but also helping it grow on the whole.

With 80% of the average company’s costs tied to its talent, which is increasingly globally mobile, here are the top 5 workplace changes South African companies will need to adopt in the next 2 years to keep pace with international trends:

1. Build the ‘Internet of Workplace’
In larger companies, “Internet of Things” (IoT) integration has so far primarily been at the building level, using real-time dashboards to track workplace occupancy, building water consumption, elevator usage, temperatures and more.
“However, threads of the next stage of this are starting to emerge, “ Trim notes.

“Companies are starting to embrace everything from smartphone apps that control the window shades, to tablets in meeting rooms that enable employees to order a coffee through a virtual concierge or to adjust the temperature.”
Companies that build a workplace linked by internet connectivity – an “Internet of Workplace” – will leverage devices, furniture and environments that interact digitally to drive productivity.
For example, Dutch bank ABN Amro is using occupancy data to help employees find available workspaces, and analysing traffic patterns around lunchtime to manage lift rush hours.

2. Ingrain the co-working mentality in real estate strategy
By 2020, there will be 26 000 co-working locations worldwide. By comparison, there are 24 000 Starbucks globally. Initially, co-working was simply a term for the use of a shared workspace that businesses – many of them individual entrepreneurs or small startups.

“Today, top class co-working spaces like FutureSpace in Sandton, are used by a wide variety of businesses, including multinational companies,“ says Trim.
In the future, companies will also need to think more about accessing office space rather than owning or leasing it. This paradigm shift will require an evaluation of “core” and “ flexible” space needs so that businesses can execute a real estate strategy that minimises cost and maximises opportunities.

3. Make employee experience a core part of business strategy
While most business leaders already have an understanding of the importance of employee engagement, three-quarters of those surveyed in a Harvard Business Review study said that most of their employees are not highly engaged.

Says Trim: “Engagement and productivity can have a direct impact on the bottom line. One of the best ways that companies can ensure that their employees are engaged is to dedicate someone entirely to the employee experience. By creating a position of a chief experience officer, you can focus attention and resources to reduce work-day friction and create positive experiences for employees.”

4. Create a workplace that makes people healthier
Low productivity due to poor health damages companies profitability. In the U.S. for example, overweight workers and those with chronic health conditions account for more $153 billion in lost productivity annually.
“To combat these trends, wellness is and will remain one of the hottest topics in workplace design, “ said Trim.
“Employees will soon expect to be healthier when they leave the office than when they arrived. This will be thanks to access to high-quality air, natural light, water and healthy food choices, plus wellness programs with opportunities for exercise, health care services and social engagement.”

Technology can also play a role. Some European companies encourage employees to wear Fitbits and answer daily questions to assess exercise levels, stress levels, productivity and overall well-being. Employees then translate data-driven insights into decisions around how, where and when to work.
“By 2020, we expect that the importance of benchmarking built- environment performance to wellness standards will increase dramatically,” Trim adds.

5. Enable an agile organisation
Most organisations have dedicated teams with certain expertise that work on specific products or services for clients.
“Due to changing client demands, a quickly shifting environment and evolving technologies, organisations are starting to rethink these structures by prioritising collaboration between teams, breaking down silos.
The “agile organisation” is a term that’s getting a lot of attention right now,” said Trim.
To boost collaboration between people with different areas of expertise and backgrounds, agile organisations must be able to bring people physically together to work. Collaborations are key, which means that more people will come to the office and average occupancy rates will increase. Additionally, formal planned meetings are replaced by short, effective “meeting moments” and continuous informal collaboration within teams.
According to a study from McKinsey & Company, businesses that are deploying agile development at scale have accelerated their innovation by up to 80 percent.
“The year 2020 isn’t that far away. It is critical for South African companies to make space and location decisions that create engaging and productive experiences for employees,” Trim concludes.

Technavio’s latest global stationery and cards market report highlights three key emerging trends predicted to impact market growth through 2020. Technavio defines an emerging trend as something that has potential for significant impact on the market and contributes to its growth or decline.

The key vendors in the market include, Office Depot, Staples, Top Culture, and Walmart. However, Hallmark and American Greetings make up for almost 80% of the greeting cards market. The other prominent vendors in the market include ACCO Brands, Adveo, Ardent Group, American Greetings, El Corte Inglés, Hallmark Cards, Herlitz, Kaut-Bullinger, Kokuyo, Lyreco, Metro, Ryman Group, and WH Smith.

“Vendors operating in the market provide a diversified range of products to appeal to a wider consumer base. Some of these vendors directly sell their products to end-users to reduce their reliance on retailers. They keep customers abreast of ongoing market trends by speaking of offers that aid branding and differentiation,” says Abhay Sinha, one of Technavio’s lead industry analysts.

“Being a discretionary product, stationery and cards vendors are largely affected by the economic outlook. To stay at a sizeable position in the market, vendors must therefore continuously innovate and provide new designs and utility of products,” adds Abhay.

Technavio’s market research study identifies the following three emerging trends expected to propel the global stationery and cards market:

  • Licensing of stationery;
  • Product innovations; and
  • Demand for green products.

Licensing is a popular trend that has been around for quite some time. The concept of licensing allows diversity and propels sales in the market through new product launches. Global sales of licensed merchandise reached $157-billion in 2013, whereby Asia’s emerging licensing market accounted for 12,7% of the world’s total. It is a trend that is anticipated to find tremendous popularity in all new and emerging markets for cards and stationery.

Licenses dealing with cartoon characters, movies, mobile games, TV shows, and sports stars are particularly popular and are used in the marketing of basic stationery products. These products display new and unique designs that are familiar to the consumer base, and this further drives its demand. With children anticipated to gain a greater role to play in consumer decisions, this strategy will thereby cause a major turnaround for the market over the next four years. For instance, Staples teamed up with Nickelodeon to offer exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob SquarePants designs on stationery products.

Product innovations

Designs are being centered on value-addition with enhanced appeal and additional convenience. Manufacturers are transitioning in terms of functionalities of stationery and cards by innovating with new designs, formats, and models. For instance, a pin-less stapler creates holes in sheets and interlocks all of them, thereby eliminating the need to use pins and refills the stapler. Notebooks, pens, and inks in different colors are becoming design-led products, while doubling up as fashion accessories.

To enhance their connect with consumers, vendors in the market are incorporating new technologies in greeting cards and stationery to increase their revenues and make them more appealing to consumers. Vendors are also using digital mediums to communicate with their consumers. For instance, the Jackpen, a writing instrument, can be inserted into the headphone socket of a mobile phone. Hallmark Cards have come up with sound cards, lenticular cards, and cards that have a voice changer, 3D motion, and lights. Such cards come with premium price tags and have a good demand in the market.

Demand for green products

Consumers are increasingly embracing lifestyles and processes that support green living. This is largely shaping buying pattern of individuals and commercial consumers, as they aim to consciously reduce the use of paper and paper-based products.

Vendors in the market are addressing this wave of environmental challenge by researching alternative materials and manufacturing products that are not only eco-friendly but are also functional and sophisticated. For instance, Glebe Cottage offers cards that use FSC-certified materials, alcohol-free printing process, vegetable-based inks, compostable bags, and green energy. Technavio researchers anticipate many similar product launches in the market over the next four years.

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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