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Parents concerned about rising cost of school items

Published on: Monday, December 30, 2013

Kota Kinabalu: A survey conducted in the City and Penampang reveals that many parents are concerned about the rising cost of school items for their children while shops selling such items are experiencing a dip or minimal increase in sales.

Beverly Joeman, a single parent from Luyang with three school-going children, said she spent about RM200 on each child, with two pairs of shoes per child already costing her RM60.

"One of my children is in secondary school and two are in primary school, so it is setting me back at least RM600 despite us re-using last year's uniforms.

"It's not easy for me as a single mother to bear the increasing cost of living, what more with three school- going children to support," she lamented.

Another parent, Danny V, 39, from Penampang, said he spent on average about RM210 for each of his three school-going children.

"A child would need at least two sets of uniforms costing around RM80, two pairs of shoes around RM50, school supplies at RM30 and a schoolbag at RM50. So I'm spending at least RM630 for all three of my children's schooling needs," he said, adding that last year's uniforms were still being used as they were still in good condition.

"Prices have definitely increased, thus placing an extra burden on families," he said. Another parent who hails from Kota Belud, Lai Jaw, 51, said he expects to spend at least RM250 for his child's schooling needs.

"Last year, I remember, it was around RM200 but it has gone up by about 25 per cent. I may be able to bear it at the moment, but what about other parents who have many children? This increase in prices is a burden for us all, especially those from the lower-income group," he said.

Another parent, Danny M., 40, from Penampang, said he spent close to RM600 for his two children's school supplies comprising uniforms, socks, shoes, stationery and schoolbags.

"The cost of school items has really gone up. That's only for two children. Can you imagine if someone has four children? The price increase is definitely a burden for Sabahans.

"I also hope the school authorities would consider not making parents buy workbooks for their children that may end up being unused," he said.

A survey of several shops selling school supplies drew mixed reactions. While some are doing well, others have experienced a dip in sales.

Kelvin, the manager of a one-stop school supplies shop, Tung-E Enterprise, said they experienced an increase in the sales of school items last week.

"We estimate at least a five per cent increase in the sales this year compared to last year. However, there is still time before school starts and I feel tomorrow will see even more parents and children coming to shop here," he said.

Parkwell Putatan Assistant Manager, Chai Chin Siong, however, said sales of school items so far this year were about the same as last year.

"I think it's about the same as last year. Of course, it is a bit hectic as school day draws nearer," he said, while parents and students packed the departmental store trying out school uniforms and shoes.

The proprietor of Soon Thart Trading in Donggongon said, however, that they have experienced a dip in sales this year.

"Compared to last year, I estimate there seems to be at least a 30 per cent dip in sales.

Parents normally will come in to buy uniforms, socks, shoes, stationery and schoolbags for their children. However, it seems parents are not spending as much this year," he said.