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Parents in distress as they cannot afford the school fees

Dublin: Inflation, rising prices, and soaring living costs are taking a toll on ordinary Irish families, reports say, as schools prepare to reopen. The cost of purchasing school uniforms and other learning materials is prohibitively expensive.

The survey report, says that  the majority of parents in Ireland are worried about how to find the cost of their children’s education with only days left for school to open. Barnardo’s research, a charity organisation that works with children, reveals the concerns of parents who have been devastated by the rising cost of living.

The parents of secondary school students are the most worried (66%), and 48% are suffering a lot due to the cost of living. The parents also claim that school uniform policies and mandatory contributions increase the cost of education. They are also very dissatisfied with this. The survey found that 24% of parents of secondary school children are struggling to meet school expenses.

According to the research, the average cost of education for a fourth grade student is 320 Euros, while the cost of education for a first-year secondary school student is 972 Euros. This is for secondary school students’ uniforms, school supplies, digital equipment, and books. The explosive cost of digital tools is a big problem. 50% of parents are worried about school expenses, according to the research, and 35% of them are in dire straits.

Even primary school students have to contribute 101 euros. For secondary students, it is 143 Euros. Suzanne Connolly, CEO of Barnardo’s, stated.

Their prices have risen significantly in comparison to last year. An average of 1,500 euros per child would have sufficed last year. However, it will cost more than €1,800 this year.

The organisation observes that the government will provide free books and copy books to all primary school students, so their parents do not have much trouble.

Will the government help?

To assist struggling parents, the charity is calling for the free book programme to be expanded to secondary schools. Back-to-school benefits should be increased by €100. Furthermore, the organisation demanded that the criteria for receiving this be relaxed, that the child benefit for 18-year-old students in second-level schools be maintained, and that uniforms be provided at a low cost to all schools.

The survey was conducted online between June 19 and July 10. The survey was completed by 629 parents of secondary school students and 519 parents of primary school students.

But the government centres say that no new measures are likely to be announced before the budget. School expenses are being monitored. More schools should take advantage of book rental schemes. The government also wants to encourage the use of generic uniforms.

Children will bear the brunt of the price increase.

The National Parents Council Post Primary says the price hike has also reached children. Children and parents who are unable to pay their bills must be identified and assisted. The most difficult issue is identifying defaulters. According to NPCPP Communications Director Paul Rolston, they should make sure that other students are not aware of this.

Parents require assistance.

Michelle Murphy, research and policy analyst at Social Justice Ireland, stated that more parents needed assistance to cope with rising living costs. Every year, parents are concerned about school fees. However, it is now affecting an increasing number of families. Rising energy and food prices are putting a strain on families. In the meantime, high school costs must be covered.

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