Prices of textbooks and all stationery items including copies, registers, uniforms and school bags have skyrocketed in the open market have ahead of the new academic session of private schools.
All private schools in the Rawalpindi district will start the new academic session from April 4.
Sources said that a majority of private schools are asking students to buy books, stationery and uniforms from selected bookshops, where the prices are even higher than in the open market.
During a market survey, it transpired that up to Rs150 has been increased in the prices of textbooks from class one to eighth class. In the open market, the school uniforms for children up to primary class are being sold at Rs2700, shoes between Rs2500 and Rs3000, girls uniforms at Rs2500, regular copy at Rs120, medium copy at Rs150, fair copy between Rs200 and Rs250, regular register at Rs100, medium register at Rs150, fair copy at Rs250, rough copy between Rs100 and Rs150, drawing copy between Rs150 and Rs250, computer copy between Rs150 and Rs250, science practical copy between Rs250 and Rs300, geometry box between Rs200 and Rs500, calculator between Rs800 and Rs1500, advanced calculator at Rs3,000. Private schools are charging primary class admission fee at Rs1,500, monthly fee between Rs500 and Rs1000, tuition fee at Rs500, totaling between Rs3,000 to Rs8,000.
Haji Qudratullah, a parent, said that the increase in admission fee made some sense but the increase in the prices of textbooks was reprehensible. “The government is responsible for providing free education. Textbooks should be made available free of cost or their prices should be reduced by 50 per cent,” he said.
Another parent Akhtar Qureshi said that the new academic year and Ramazan have come simultaneously. “The increase in the school fee, books and copies is uncalled-for. Education has become a business,” he said demanding that the monthly fee should be reduced and the admission fee should be abolished completely.
Textbook seller Absar Satti said that the prices of paper in the open market has gone up immensely. “Prices of books cannot come down unless the government abolishes all kinds of duties and taxes on the imported paper,” he said adding that this year, the budget of families whose three children are in school has increased by up to Rs30,000.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2022.
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