Parents in the public primary school system are being asked to fork out up to $2000 per child for learning materials and uniforms. Tenth generation iPads, earpods, wireless keyboards, laptop devices, stylus pens and $240 book packs feature on many back to school shopping lists and it's pushing some families to the brink financially.
On top of that there can be voluntary school contributions asked of families at the beginning of each school year or term. Teachers are also dipping into their own pockets to supply basic learning materials that families can't afford.
The price tag on the back to school round up is renewing calls for better funding for the basics of education. Parents are also urging public schools to reconsider whether pricier items on material lists could be purchased by the schools and used as communal resources. There are also families who question whether things like personal iPads actually aid learning.
Watch: Two Types of Parents: School Shopping. Post continues after video.
A national survey conducted by The Smith Family found 9 in 10 Australian families with children on the charity’s Learning for Life program are worried they won't be able to afford back to school essentials.
Half of the families surveyed said they wouldn't be able to afford the digital devices they had been asked to provide which undermines the whole premise of public education providing equal opportunity. "Every Australian would agree that all children should have the same opportunities as their peers at school, so they can achieve their potential," the Smith Family CEO Doug Taylor said in a statement.