Textbooks cost primary school students over HK$3,000: Consumer Council

It costs more than HK$3,000 for parents of primary school students to get textbooks this school year, 5.3 percent more than last year — an increase which far surpasses the inflation rate of 0.4 percent, the Consumer Council has found.

The piles of textbooks for a primary school student this school year cost parents HK$3,083 on average, while that for a secondary school student cost HK$2,887 on average.

The council collected and analyzed textbook lists from around 100 primary and secondary schools with the help of the Education Bureau as of late-August.

Data revealed that textbooks expenditure for primary and secondary school students increased by 5.3 percent and 3.6 percent respectively compared to the last school year, surpassing the inflation rate during the same period.

According to the study, the average textbook expenditure for primary school students ranges from HK$2,879 to HK$ 3,223 depending on which grade they are in.

As for secondary school, the average expenditure on textbooks was HK$2,887 in the new school year. The most expensive book list the council collected saw a secondary four student charged HK$5,887.

The council pointed out that publishers offered noticeably smaller discounts to primary and secondary schools this year. Thirty-nine primary schools received a bigger 11 to 14 percent discount, which was 6 percent fewer in numbers than that of last year.

The council recommended schools to employ recycling measures, including purchasing supplementary resources for students to borrow, buying storybooks for students for circulation among themselves, and hosting second-hand book donations or sales to allow students to obtain textbooks and learning materials at lower prices.

The council also expected there will be more electronic learning materials in the future with online classes becoming the new normal of education, adding they will keep an eye on the impact the trend brings to the market.

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