As schools reopen after two-year hiatus, parents feel the pinch

After a two-year-long, pandemic-induced hiatus, the frenzy associated with school shopping is back. Many schools have completed the first phase of distribution of textbooks. However, the increased price of school supplies along with the annual tuition fee is likely to affect many lower income families in the coming academic year.

Notebooks of various leading companies have turned dearer, with the price increasing by at least 5. Prices of other stationery items too remain high due to the impact of inflation.

There has been a steep rise in the price of ICSE textbooks. For an upper primary student, parents now have to spend a minimum of ₹ 3,800 for textbooks and notebooks alone.

Shop owners say the high cost of paper and other raw materials has led to a 30% increase in the price of books. The supply is also limited compared to the increasing demand. It will force parents to shell out extra money in the next academic year, they add.

“The cost is actually unbearable for parents who have to fund the education of two or more children. They are now running pillars to post in search of shops that offer some discount during bulk purchase, ”says TV Francis, a retired teacher, who sponsors the education of some financially backward children.

For many, the purchase of uniforms and other dress materials is also going to be a pricey affair. For the last two years, people have been managing with previously purchased items in the absence of regular classes due to the pandemic. The cost of uniform materials and stitching has gone up too.

Meanwhile, officials with the Kerala State Cooperative Consumers’ Federation (Consumerfed) say there are 500 student markets active across the state to counter the price hike of school supplies and address the concerns of lower income groups. In Kozhikode district, the service of 45 such outlets will be available, they add.

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