2014-01-25 10:06:53 Source: Original Website of News Australia Alisonedit

Nowadays, children have not even stepped into the school gate, and parents spend as much as 700 yuan on average to buy school uniforms, shoes and stationery.

New research estimates that even with "free compulsory education", parents still have to spend more than 2000 yuan for a primary school student each year. Some families will deliberately avoid letting their children go to certain courses that include additional fees, or borrow money for tuition. There are also many children who are considerate of their parents at a young age and deliberately do not choose courses that require extra money.

In some cases, teachers will quietly guide some children from poor backgrounds to avoid design classes, computer classes and home economics classes, because they know that their families cannot afford the extra costs. "Our staff said that some children are really talented in certain subjects, but they are advised not to choose these subjects because their families cannot afford the related expenses."

The Smith Family, a charity organization, has estimated the cost of starting school, but claims that this is only a conservative estimate because these prices are based on buying the cheapest things. The organization estimates that the "actual cost" for a child to receive free compulsory education in a public elementary school exceeds 2000 yuan per year, and this does not include outings and other self-funded activities.

Anton Leschen, the Victorian general manager of the Smith family, said some families can only apply for personal loans or apply for another credit card to cover the cost of their children starting school. They dare not let their children go to art classes and outdoor education classes, because these have to pay material fees or activity fees.

"The actual cost of public schools far exceeds the affordability of many disadvantaged families," Lechen said. "The days when you only need to prepare a ruler, a pencil sharpener and some exercise books for your children are gone. For families, children’s education contains a lot of hidden costs. Unfortunately, the difference between whether there is or not is really big. There are many such costs every school year, and they are year after year."

The Smith family estimates that parents spend an average of 579 yuan for girls’ school uniforms, 419 yuan for boys, 110 yuan for shoes, and 45 yuan for stationery.

If you take into account other necessities, such as school fees (250 yuan), lunch, a 279 yuan notebook computer and the Internet at home, the annual cost is at least 2200 yuan.

Other optional items, such as voluntary donations, outings and school photos, will make the cost even higher.

Werribee's single mother, Heidi Singh, estimated that she would have to spend 350 yuan to send her 6-year-old daughter Brandy Bankuti to the first grade of Wyndham Park Primary. Fortunately, stationery is included in the tuition, which helps to some extent, but it is still a challenge to raise the remaining funds after Christmas. "It costs so much money all at once, and there are always various things to ask for money in a year." Heidi said, "but now I am still one of the lucky parents, because my daughter is still young."

The Smith family provides grants to approximately 7350 primary and secondary school students to help them go to school, but the organization needs more financial support.

(Australia News Network)