Getting kids ready to start school a costly affair

Ready for school: A few young children getting their hair cut at a salon in Bukit Payong, Marang, in anticipation of the new 2023 school term. — Bernama

KULAI: Back to school preparations for a single mother who was affected by the recent floods here is proving to be both costly and painful.

K. Tamilselvi from Kampung Baru Sengkang said she lost around RM600 worth of new clothes for her four children during the floods in Johor on March 1.

The 38-year-old said she had staggered out the purchase of her children’s school supplies because she depends entirely on the aid given by the Welfare Department and her late husband’s Socso payouts.

She said the floodwaters also destroyed her children’s books and stationery.

“So far, my father, who lives nearby, has lent me RM50 to buy new clothes for my seven-year-old son, who will be starting his first day at Sekolah Kebangsaan Kota Kulai 1,” she added.

She also said that her three other children, ages between 10 and 13, will be wearing their old uniforms to school.

“I’m currently saving up to buy their clubhouse uniform,” said Tamilselvi, who lost her husband back in 2020 during the pandemic.

Referring to the flood, she said her house which is located near Sungai Sengkang, would be the first to be inundated when the water rises.

“The flood started around 5.30am and the water rose very fast; all my furniture and appliances were damaged,” she said, adding that this was the second time her house was inundated since November last year.

“But this time was worse because we really did not expect the water to come gushing in. It usually rises and we would have some time to save our important items,” she added.

Single father Tew E Chuan, 45, said the high cost of living was really affecting his family as he had to spend more than RM1,000 for his two school-going children.

“My son is starting his first day as a Year One pupil while my daughter will enter Year Six at the same school, SJK (C) Masai.

“So far, I have spent RM350 for the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), insurance for the kids and RM650 for their school uniform sets, including bags and shoes.

“I expect to fork out another RM1,000 for their tuition deposit and then the monthly RM500 payment,” he added.

Tew, who earns a living as a locksmith, said he was lucky to be able to stay near the school, so he saved on paying for transportation.

Norzalina Hassan, 38, said she had spent around RM4,000 since December last year to gradually buy what her four children needed for school.

The 38-year-old said she shopped around for the best discounts for school uniforms for her children who go to a religious school.

She pointed out that school enrolment for her youngest child’s kindergarten alone can cost about RM400.

“Luckily, my husband and I can take turns sending and fetching them from school,” she added.

States under Group A, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, start the new 2023 school term today.

Schools in Group B, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, will start tomorrow.

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