Par­ents will have to do their home­work to keep sta­tionery costs down as kids re­turn to school

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SAKHILE NDLAZI sakhile.ndlazi@inl.co.za

STA­TIONERY can be a daunt­ing ex­pense if you don’t do your home­work. As chil­dren across the coun­try pre­pare to re­turn to school next week, par­ents will be fac­ing price hikes that the new school year presents, in­clud­ing the cost of sta­tionery.

Stores have been abuzz this week with par­ents and chil­dren do­ing last-minute shopping.

Nomvelo Mbenya, whose three chil­dren, aged seven to 13, at­tend Glen­stan­tia Pri­mary School in Pre­to­ria, said the cost of sta­tionery items had been on the rise since 2014.

“I of­ten hear how peo­ple com­plain about school uni­forms, but an­other dent in our pock­ets which is of­ten over­looked is sta­tionery. Those chair bags, Pritt glues and pas­tels are now costly.”

Some par­ents said they had ob­served an in­crease in sta­tionery prices, but Mecca Sta­tionery, a shop in the Pre­to­ria CBD, said the rise and fall of the rand had an im­pact on the price of school sta­tionery.

Some schools don’t pro­vide sta­tionery, and a par­ent with a child go­ing to school on Wed­nes­day might find them­selves fork­ing out more than R800 on sta­tionery alone.

An av­er­age cost taken from a com­par­i­son of four schools’ sta­tionery list re­quire­ments for Grade 1 to Grade 12 classes to­talled R950.

Ja­nine Shan­non, a mother of a Grade 6 learner at Robert Hicks Pri­mary School, said al­though her son would be us­ing some of the sta­tionery from last year, the cost this year was higher than it was last year.

“You don’t have to buy ev­ery­thing on the list, but for ev­ery grade the chil­dren are ex­pected to have different things. The higher the grade, the more ex­pen­sive the items,” she said.

An­other par­ent, Sheila Lumpur, said she has had to cut down on ex­pen­di­tures to cope with these in­cre­ments. “Ev­ery year I have a bud­get, but I was shocked that the prices have gone up so much.”

Le­bo­gany Mo­suwe, whose 10-year-old son Tokelo at­tends Northridge Pri­mary School, said back-to-school sup­plies, par­tic­u­larly sta­tionery, had changed con­sid­er­ably in re­cent years, and were now mar­keted as “fash­ion­able” items.

She felt they al­lowed kids to ex­press them­selves, but oth­ers ar­gued that they de­tracted from learn­ing and were a waste of money.

Bid­vest Wal­tons is one of the coun­try’s lead­ing providers of school and of­fice sup­plies. A quick browse of their web­site takes you to the My Back­2S­chool page, where you can find the “rec­om­mended sta­tionery (not school-spe­cific)” for ev­ery grade.

If you were to buy all the rec­om­mended items for Grade 1 it would come to R1 377.

Gaut­eng Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment spokesper­son Steve Mabona said learn­ing and teach­ing sup­port ma­te­rial (text­books and sta­tionery) was bud­geted for all schools.

“Schools com­plete req­ui­si­tion forms based on their in­di­vid­ual needs us­ing the al­lo­cated bud­get,” he said.”

PIC­TURE: JAC­QUES NAUDE AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY/ANA

KIT­TED OUT: Tokelo Mo­suwe, 10, who will be in Grade 4 this year at Northridge Pri­mary School, shops for his sta­tionery.

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