Phumzile Mathonsi helps her daughter Lonathemba try on her new school uniform. Zanele Zulu African News Agency ANA
Pretoria - Back-to-school comes at a cost; not only are there fees but uniforms and stationery.

Most schools give parents a long list of items their child will need, depending on the grade, and it includes bags, pens and pencils, rulers, crayons, files, notebooks and a homework diary.

Many parents like to shop around, and see where they can save a few rand.

Gladys Ntuliki said she had to buy for both a Grade 1 and a Grade 6 (child) this year. She managed to get everything on the list and was lucky she had money saved up before the holidays.

“For the first grader, I had to buy 12 rolls of toilet paper.

The school also required their own brand of pencils, which was expensive,” she said, noting that children needed a whole lot more than when she was at school.

“From stick glues to glitters, stickers, tissues and soap it all goes on the stationery list,” she said.

A pair of school shoes cost about R200 or more in most shops and some parents said they found themselves replacing uniforms every year because their children grew fast.

Kgothatso Kutumela said it was common for children to lose their stationery and items of the uniform, and her son was one of those who needed items replaced throughout the year. She said she was even required to (buy) a pack of paper (for the office printer), and each learner was required to bring a pack, “meaning a lot of paper”.

Fortunately many shops had specials at this time of year which helped,” Kutumela said.

Daniel Seriti said the trick was to buy stationery before the holidays and this was what he did, avoiding the cost and the queues now.

“The kids are excited about the new stationery but not so keen about going back to school, but it’s back to reality now,” he said.

Schools reopen on Wednesday, although some invite the Grade 1s to come in earlier just to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings and help them settle in better.

Pretoria News