Prices of schoolbooks, backpacks and school supplies are increasing every year. Check for yourself how the prices of these items vary in South Africa and in other countries around the world.
The beginning of every school year is often connected with stress. Not only for the future first graders who suddenly need to enter a more ‘grown-up world’, but also for the parents who need to face the financial side of this whole venture.
Parents all over the world know what a burden on the family budget is sending a child to school. We have decided to analyze the costs of the first graders’ school supplies for 2019 and to compare the spending of an average South African family to the expenditures of parents from 26 other countries. It should be noted that in some countries the school year has started in August or October 2018 and in some has yet to start.
In order to accomplish an objective analysis, we focused only on the basic yet essential products from the school supplies list. For instance, we resigned from the comparison of the prices of shoes or school uniforms as these matters are often decided by the local authorities or school principals.
A few hundred rands for a start
Since the analyzed basket consisted of over 27 products, we have divided the whole item list into 4 categories: backpack, basic stationery, creativity items, and PE clothing.
Considering that pupils in most countries carry a large number of items to and from school, it is necessary for every first grader to own a good quality backpack. Although in the first grade the number of school subjects is relatively low when compared to the programme of the whole primary school, the backpack needs to have enough space to accommodate a pencil case, a folder with notebooks, a few textbooks, a lunchbox and a bottle of water. In the South African shops, the average price of a quality backpack is R162.
For the most basic stationery set (notebooks, book sleeves, folder, pencil case, pens, pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, and ruler) an average South African family spent a slightly higher amount than for a backpack, that is R164.98.
Of course, the matter of prices is individual and depends a lot on the financial possibilities of the family and the conscious choices of the parents, as some shops offer both very cheap and very expensive, branded products.
The art classes are very significant when it comes to making the whole education process more pleasurable for children. Overall, necessities for these classes are scissors, glue, construction paper, various kinds of poster colours, pencils, marker pens and plasticine. The total cost of these would be about R230.01.
The standard PE kit for the first grader consists of sports shorts, training shoes and two basic white t-shirts. After analysing the deals from different online stores we have deduced that this part of pre-school shopping would consume R234.46.
The total cost of the school supplies for the first grader in South Africa comes to R791.
More than 4% of South African’s salary was spent on school supplies. Who spends more?
We have decided to check what is the cost of school supplies in different countries compared to the country’s average salary. In 2019, the school starter kit would be equal to 4.42% of the average monthly South African salary.
Among other countries, a relatively smaller part of parents’ salary is spent on the school kits by the Australians (4.02%), Americans (3.62%) and French (3.88%).
Definitely, it’s easier for parents in Switzerland and Canada where the school supplies costs are equal to 2.99% and 3.18% of the national average. In the meantime, in Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador the costs are greater than 20%.