GEORGE TOWN: It will cost around RM1,000 a month for a first-time parent to send a child entering Year One in the new school term that starts in March.
KH Leow, 44, said he did the math and after calculating all the costs of uniforms, school shoes, stockings, stationery, tuition, daycare as well as pocket money, everything added up to about RM1,000.
“As it is the first time my daughter is going to (primary) school, I will get her three sets of uniforms,” said the business manager.
“Since my daughter has not enrolled in school, I have not received the RM150 government cash aid. Maybe the government can consider dispersing the cash aid before school starts,” he said.
Leow hoped that the Education Ministry could look into extending the Supplementary Food Plan Programme (RMT) for all students.
“Food is more expensive now, hence parents, especially those from poorer backgrounds, end up providing cheaper or (nutritionally) unbalanced food for their children.”
Consumers Association of Penang education officer NV Subbarow urged the government to look into the needs of families, especially those from the B40 community, when tabling the revised Budget 2023.
“Prices of school items have increased tremendously. Children, especially those entering Year One, might need to get more items and incur more expenses.
“The government should look into allocating more financial aid to this group or provide free tuition classes as well as gadgets,” he said.
Subbarow added that as food prices were increasing, the government should provide subsidies to school canteen operators to make food affordable for students.
“A lot of students skip meals at school due to the high cost. Their parents cannot afford it,” he said.
Subbarow suggested that food be provided for students who stay back at school for extra-curricular activities.
“The revised budget should allocate money for this project,” he said.
SJK(C) Moh Ghee parent-teacher association chairman Ang Yee Shyuan said the government should allocate funds to upgrade school equipment.
She pointed out that since the Covid-19 pandemic, schools have transitioned to online learning, yet many schools do not have the facilities needed.
“Most of the smart boards in schools are outdated and it would cost between RM8,000 to RM10,000 for a new one.
“Many schools are (trying to) raise funds to buy the latest equipment but due to the bad economy, funds are low.
“The revised budget should look into upgrading computers in schools and providing high-speed internet.
“We hope that the government can allocate money for schools to upgrade their technology facilities according to the number of students in the school,” she said.
The revised Budget 2023 is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament on Feb 24.