As a newly exited school leaver, I had no idea my parents were spending so much, just for the basic back-to-school amenities. Before I was tasked with researching the actual dollar figure attached to sending kids back to school, I honestly believed it was nothing more than a trivial task. I am now flabbergasted after speaking with a number of my fellow co-workers, who are all parents. Well, summer has come to an end, and I now understand the headache most parents would get when sourcing back-to-school necessities.
A few people in some cases won’t understand the struggles that parents go through when they’re meeting the bills that are generally high-priced.
After my own research, I gathered that every new school year, parents are obliged to spend an average of twenty five hundred dollars, generally less for primary school students and more for those at high school. Needless to say, this average amount is per child.
During my last interview with the Human Resource manager in my office, I was left gasping for breath as she explained, item by item, the cost of sending her daughter to secondary school.
Textbooks, exercise books and work books alone amount to $1,500; then there is stationery which includes geometry sets, pens and pencils, rulers, erasers, calculators, etc. which effortlessly adds another $200 to bail out. School bags, lunch kits and pencil cases add several hundred dollars, even more for “designer” products that most kids demand. Wow!
Let’s not forget about the most important item of all: school uniforms. Costing less than textbooks, yet still pricey at $500 and up.
Uniforms include overalls at $60, shirts starting at $25 (keeping in mind the bigger the shirt, the higher the price), trousers and shorts at $40, P.E uniforms at $60, vests costing $25-30 per packet of 2-3 vests plus shoes and socks starting at $100 but way more for brand names. Last but not least, school registration fees ranging from $60 to $125. These are all items I used in school, but I never expected the prices to add up to such an expense.
It’s no surprise that parents are under pressure when it comes to meeting all those expenses, far less for the low-income families who are already struggling to send their children to school. Thankfully, there is some assistance, limited though it may be, from the government and corporate society.
The government agency SSDF issues a yearly bursary of approximately $500 to low-income families who apply, helping to “fill a gap”. Corporate citizens such as hoteliers, telecommunication businesses and privately-owned entities also see fit to lend a helping hand during a financially strained period.
I now appreciate the sacrifices that some parents make to put their children through school.