Parents Feel Back-to-School Pinch

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By Namene Kandi Neumbo WINDHOEK It is that time of the year again when parents of school-going children feel the pinch by buying them school wear as their offspring prepare to start another academic year. It is fact that school wear prices go up every year and parents must fork out more and more for these very essentials and even though January is the month in which many people are broke because of the past festive holidays, one should still have provided enough money for uniforms and books. Children are also growing up fast these days and gone are the days when a child could wear her/his school uniform for more than a year. There are shops such as Pep Stores and Ackermans that are known for their reasonable prices but there are also those which can charge you through your nose. Karseboom is a well-known place that charges high prices for school wear but parents cannot do anything about it but pay because it is a specialized shop and most of the special uniforms are only found there. However, basic uniforms such as the popular grey skirt for girls, grey pants for boys and the white shirt can still be found at reasonable prices in most shops. When Nampa took to the shops, some parents were already busy doing back-to-school shopping. A lady with two teenagers was in Edgars buying white shirts, grey pants and a skirt, socks and shoes. “It’s the same story every year, and it’s not even really worth it to complain but the prices really go up every year. I have these two going to Academia and there is a younger one at St George’s so I still have to go to Karseboom from here, where I have to go and buy a dress for not less than N$200 and that is excluding shoes and socks. Then the sports wear still has to come on top of that. These two are cheaper to buy for than the younger one,” she said. Another parent was shopping for her six- year-old starting school for the first time. “I was so excited that my baby is finally going to school but I never knew it would be so expensive. But it has to be done so it won’t help to complain. At least he only needs shorts and a shirt now but in winter I have to buy long trousers and long sleeved shirts so it’s cheaper for now,” she said. Ellen Beukes, a supervisor in one of the Pep Stores branches, said many parents have been in to buy their children’s uniforms but she said they expected more. “I am sure Saturday (past weekend) will be the busiest as that is when most parents have time and one really needs time to do this, and it is also the last Saturday before school starts. Some people like to compare prices so they move from one shop to another until they find what they are looking for at a reasonable price,” said Beukes. Most of the shops have specials during this time of the year and if one is patient enough to look at more than one place then you will definitely find a bargain. It is true that it is cheaper to buy summer clothes, as shorts and short-sleeved shirts are cheaper than long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Even girls have to wear long pants in winter so it is not only boys’ parents who have it hard. In most shops such as Pep, Ackermans, Jet and Edgars, the short-sleeved white shirt costs from N$20, the long-sleeved N$20, grey pants N$60 and the grey skirt N$50 but everything also costs according to size which means the younger the child the cheaper the uniform and vice-versa. It is also evident that shoes are more expensive with girls’ basic baby doll school shoes starting at about N$85 to N$130 while boys’ shoes cost between N$65 and N$170. Some shoes cost even more because it also depends on the brand one buys. The most common parents buy are Toughees and Buccaneer. Apart from all these one should also not forget the school bag, and nothing of good quality that should last at least the whole year if not two is below N$100. Stationery that used to be found in special shops such as CNA can also be bought in other shops such as Pick ‘n Pay, Pep, Ackermans, Woermann, Brock, Shoprite and others. Parents can breathe a sigh of relief as notebooks, pens, pencil cases and other studying materials still cost more or less the same. Some children take good care of their bags and they last longer than others so it is actually up to the parents to teach them how to look after their property. There is no way of getting out of this as long as you are a parent – it is just one of those responsibilities that come with the job.

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