By Uchechi Moses I ply Ikorodu Road on my way…
Prices of schoolbooks, backpacks and school supplies are increasing every year. Check for yourself how the prices of these items vary in Nigeria and in other countries around the world.
The beginning every new school year is often connected with stress, not only for the future first graders who suddenly need to enter a more ‘grown up world’ and leave their families’ safety, but also for the parents who need to face the financial side of this whole venture.
We have decided to analyze the costs of the first graders’ school supplies for 2018 and to compare the spendings of an average Nigerian family to the expenditures of parents from 36 other countries in which the school year also starts in August or September.
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. We did not include things like student books either. Our data is based on current prices in selected online stores in the 36 countries that are part of the analysis. To calculate the average price, we have taken into consideration the items from the medium and low price ranges. While converting foreign currencies we used an average exchange rate from July 2018.
A few thousand naira for a start
Since the analyzed basket consisted of over 27 products, we have divided the whole item list into 4 categories: backpacks, basic stationery, creativity items, and PE clothing.
Considering that pupils in most countries carry a large amount of items to and from school five days per week, it is necessary for every first grader to own a good quality backpack that will give him/her enough support and will not jeopardize his/her health. 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 Nigerian shops the average price of a quality backpack is ₦2050.
For the most basic stationery set (notebooks, book sleeves, folder, pencil case, pens, pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, and ruler) an average Nigerian family will spend a significantly higher amount than for a backpack, that is ₦10431 which is the second most expensive category in the school supplies list.
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 useful during 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 ₦10182.
The standard PE kit for the first grader consists of sports shorts, training shoes and two basic white t-shirts. After analysing the August deals from different online stores we have deduced that this part of pre-school shopping would consume ₦12913. The total cost of the school supplies for the first grader in Nigeria comes to ₦35580.
Almost 55% Nigerians’ salary will be spent on the school supplies. Which countries spend more?
We have decided to check what is the cost of school supplies in different countries compared to the country’s average salary. Comparing and contrasting, we have acknowledged that in 2018 the school starter kit would be equal to 54,74% of the average monthly Nigerian salary.
Among other countries, relatively smaller amount of money is spent on the school kits by the Russians (18,91%), Brits (8,96% of their salary) and Americans (3,97%).
Definitely the cheapest school supplies come to be in Switzerland and Sweden where the school supplies costs are equal to 2,99% and 3,14% of a national average. In the meantime, in Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Vietnam the costs are greater than 20%.
Stats and research done by Picodi.