“The prices of almost all stationery items have increased, hitting us hard in the pocket. Even the price of a small notebook has doubled from 10 TK to 20 TK in just two months.”
Mir Hafizur Rahman, a guardian of the capital.
Prices for stationery and study materials have risen dramatically over the past two months, putting thousands of tutors, already struggling to cope with soaring prices for basic necessities, in a difficult situation.
Many of them say they pay 15-25% more than they paid two months ago for school supplies such as notebooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, calculators and geometry boxes.
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The rise in such personal spending comes at a time when soaring inflation is affecting all aspects of life, a number of capital watchmen have said.
Moreover, the recent increase in tuition and coaching fees has also aggravated their suffering.
“The prices of almost all stationery items have gone up, hitting us hard in the pocket. Even the price of a small notebook has doubled from Tk 10 to Tk 20 in just two months,” Mir Hafizur said. Rahman, a tutor.
His two children study in a private school and their tuition fees keep rising.
“My eldest son’s guardian used to take Tk 3,000 per month a year ago. Now the private guardian charges an additional Tk 2,000. Prices for all products and services have increased, but my income remains almost the same. What should I do?” Hafizur asked.
According to the latest UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, nearly two-thirds of the total cost of education in Bangladesh is covered by households.
There are over four million students from pre-primary to tertiary level in the country.
These correspondents visited several stores in the Farmgate and Nilkhet areas over the past few days and saw an upward trend in the prices of stationery items.
Saiful Islam, a salesman at Lima Paper and Stationery in Nilkhet, said prices for school supplies had risen about 20% since the first week of July.
Another vendor, Riaz Hossain from Dhaka Stationery in the same area, said all types of papers have become more expensive. A 500-page pack of paper now costs Tk380, down from Tk280 in July.
The prices of notebooks have also increased by 5 to 15 Tk.
Traders said they used to sell a scientific calculator for 1,200 Tk, but now it costs between 1,600 and 1,700 Tk. The prices of geometry boxes and gel pens have also increased significantly. However, widely used ballpoint pens cost the same – 5 Tk.
Not only these materials, the cost of photocopying also doubled in just two months.
Md Nazrul Islam, a staff member at Stationery Brothers Limited in Nilkhet, said they now charge Tk 2 for photocopying each page of a book or document, which was Tk 1 in the first week of July .
“We have no alternative but to raise the price, as we are now buying ink and other materials at higher prices,” he said.
Book publishers predict that textbooks, except those published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), and guidebooks or supplemental books could see their prices increase by 25-30% within a month.
Ziaul Kabir Dulu, President of Obhibhabok Oikya Forum, said: “All these tutors with limited incomes are struggling to buy school materials after their prices have gone up 20-25%.
“Many of them fear they will be forced to cut spending on their children’s education in the face of soaring prices for almost every commodity.”
He also pointed out that private lesson providers and coaching centers have already increased their rates. A private tutor now charges Tk 2,500 to Tk 7,000 compared to Tk 2,000 to Tk 5,000 a few months ago.
The Unesco 2021/2 report, published last December, indicates that the prevalence of tutoring has increased in many countries over time. In Bangladesh, the share of households that paid for tutoring rose from 28% to 54% in rural areas and from 48% to 67% in urban areas between 2000 and 2010.
About 7% of families in Bangladesh have to borrow to send their children to school, he said.
KM Enamul Hoque, deputy campaign director for popular education, said rising prices for teaching materials may leave many tutors with no choice but to cut spending on food and entertainment.
“More alarming is that the rising cost of education may lead to an increase in child marriage as well as child labor in remote areas,” he added.
Anwar Hossain, owner of a bookstore in Nilkhet, said the prices of various books for upper secondary, specialization and mastery levels had already increased by around 10%.
Seeking anonymity, a former leader of the Bangladesh Publishers and Booksellers Association (BAPUS) said he had heard that many additional booksellers had raised prices by around 15% in the past two months.
A tutor of a class VI student used to spend Tk 2,000-3,000 for extra books while the cost was Tk 5,000-7,000 for a tutor of an upper secondary student, according to the former leader of the BAPUS.
BAPUS President Arif Hossain and Vice President Shamal Paul, however, said they had not yet raised the prices of the additional books.
But prices are expected to rise 25-30% early next month, they said.
They both said they had to raise prices because the costs of all materials – from paper to ink – have risen dramatically.