News on Sunday

School Materials : The Rush is On

School Materials : The Rush is On

As the festivities are over, it is now time to get ready for the grand beginning of the new school academic year. Many parents are now rushing to bookstores and shops to buy the necessary items to ensure that their children will be fully equipped to start afresh. News on Sunday provides an insight into the different types of budget plans that are awaiting parents. 

School Books: Budget starting from Rs 900 to Rs 5,000

School books are the main and most important materials needed by students. Usually, they also take up the largest portion of the budget. Starting as from Rs 1,000 for Grade 7 (Form 1), the total budget for books can go up to Rs 4,500. Yashvin Hassamal from Les Editions de L’Océan Indien states that the price and budget vary, depending whether they are foreign books or locally produced. 

“The twelve main books prescribed for Grade 7 will cost Rs 995. The same amount for Grade 8 will cost Rs 1,375. For Grade 9 (Form 3), the price would vary, as the list of books is not standard, with each school having their own book list. The science subjects are split in three as compared to Grades 7 and 8 (Forms 1 and 2), hence more books are needed. The total expenses could vary in the range of Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000,” he explains.

For Grades 10 and 11 (Forms 4 and 5), parents must plan a bigger budget. “For these Grades, the books cost more as a lot of them are imported from Oxford and Cambridge University Press. We have some books that we publish locally for the O-levels that are more affordable, while maintaining quality content. The price would vary significantly as per the book list as some books from the foreign publishers sell in the range of Rs 450 to Rs 800. Those published locally cost in the range of Rs 300 to Rs 500,” says Yashvin Hassamal.

For Grade 12 (Form 6), he underlines again that the prices would vary. “Prices vary between the lists for foreign books and those we publish locally. The local books we publish are in the range of Rs 300 to Rs 550, whilst the foreign books for A-level are much more expensive, in the range of Rs 500 up to Rs 1,000.”

At Bonanza Library, Shagun Pather argues along the same lines as Yashvin Hassamal. “The budget for books varies also depending on the syllabus, whether there are new editions and also depending on the subject combinations for Grades 10 and 11.” Regarding the budget for the different Grades, he explains that books from Grade 7 (Form 1) to Grade 9 (Form 3) start as from Rs 1,000 up to Rs 1,300. “You have to add the main subjects plus the oriental language book. For Grade 10 (Form 4) and Grade 11 (Form 5), you must count a budget starting from Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500. The prices again vary depending on the subject combinations. For Grade 12 (Lower and Upper Six), the total price for books starts from Rs 3,500 and can go up to Rs 4,000.” 

At Editions Le Printemps, the prices for books, mainly new ones, start as from Rs 1,300 for Grade 7 (Form 1) and go up to Rs 5,000 for Grade 12 (Form 6). “The prices mainly concern new books. For Form 1, the total, if you buy all new books, will be approximately around Rs 1,300. For Grade 8 (Form 2), the total price, if you buy all new books, would be around Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500. For Grade 9 (Form 3), books prices would vary between Rs 3,700 and Rs 4,000. For Grade 10 (Form 4) and Grade 11 (Form 5) books, parents must plan a budget between Rs 4,500 and Rs 5,000. Lastly for Grade 12, Lower Six/HSC books, a budget between Rs 4,800 and Rs 5,000 is required,” explains the Management. 

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Book prices: An increase yet again

On the other hand, Yashvin Hassamal, director at Les Editions de L’Océan Indien reveals that there is again an increase in book prices this year. “Book prices have risen this year mainly due to the increase in the price of paper on the international markets, with prices rising by more than 15%. To this, we have had the dollar which has strengthened by about 6-7% compared to the rupee. Grades 7 and 8 textbooks have also risen as booksellers’ margins have been reviewed upwards, as the margin they had last year was not sufficient. It would have led to the extinction of bookshops, especially in light of increases in operational costs due to wage rises and higher petrol prices. Higher petrol prices also mean higher shipping and distribution costs.”

He adds that we have an important issue related to population in Mauritius. “The major issue in Mauritius related to population is the declining rate. Every year, the intake in Grade 7 (Form 1) decreases and the printing industry works such that if volumes go down, the price goes up. We have made as much an effort as we could to keep prices reasonable and affordable for parents.”

Similarly, at Bonanza Library, Shagun Pather explains that there is an increase in school book prices this year. “This year again we have an increase because there is a worldwide increase in the price of paper in addition to the freight prices. Some books have known an increase of Rs 25 and go up to Rs 50. The increase mainly concerns imported books while some local books, for example from the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE), which are locally made are not as expensive. However, there are book prices which have remained the same also. In addition, if you opt for second hand books, the prices will be less. As such, a second hand book can cost Rs 60 instead of Rs 100.”

The books available at Les Editions de L’Océan Indien bookstores are as follows:

Grade 8: Arabic, English, English Literature, French, Mathematics
Grade 7: English, French, Kreol Morisien, French Literature, Magical Encounters English Literature, Mathematics

As from 4th January 2019: 
Grade 8: Social & Modern Studies, Technology Studies, ICT, Science
Grade 7: Science, Social & Modern Studies, ICT, Art & Design, Physical Education

Mid-January 2019: 
Grade 8: Physical Education, Kreol Morisian

Availability of Books: Waiting time until mid-January 

Yashvin Hassamal explains that most books are available as from Grade 9 (Form 3) to Grade 13 (Form 6). However, for Grade 7 (Form 1) and Grade 8 (Form 2), some titles are already available. “We had expected a few titles to be here on the ship arriving the past weekend, which would have been available in bookshops from 26th December onwards. But we have suffered a setback with the passing of cyclone Cilida. The ship with the consignment of books was unfortunately diverted to South Africa, and it may take a few weeks for it to come back, as there is no direct shipping from South Africa to Mauritius. As soon as we have confirmation of estimated dates, we will communicate them. We have another lot that is expected at the start of January. That is around the 4th, we are expecting a ship and around the 6th and the 7th, most books would be available in our bookstores,” he explains. 

At the Editions Le Printemps, the shipment containing books that was due on 15th and 16th December was delayed because of the cyclonic conditions caused by Cilida. “Owing to this mishap, some books will be on sale as from the beginning of January. However, the majority of books will be available simultaneously when school starts and at latest by mid-January,” says the management. At the Bonanza Library, Shagun Pather also tells that some books will be on the market as soon as school starts. 

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Uniforms: The budget is quite affordable

The price of uniforms across the country has remained almost the same. There is quite a rush in the stores, as parents are willing to complete their purchase before the end of this year itself. For primary students, a parent can spend as from Rs 500, depending on the number of outfits (shorts or pant or dress for girls) the parents prefer to buy. A shirt costs as from Rs 120 while a dress starts from Rs 250. 

As for secondary students, parents should keep a budget as from Rs 800, again depending on the set (shorts, pants and shirts and blouse, skirt or dress for girls). Normally, a suit for boys can start as from Rs 300 and a dress for girls is as from Rs 350. 

In both cases, parents prefer to take a minimum of two pairs of uniforms. So a minimum budget of Rs 500 is necessary for primary students while for the secondary, a budget of Rs 800 awaits parents. 

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School bags: Trendy is in 

scholarshipEach year, we see new trends in school bags. This year for the primary children, the combo bag is very much trendy and is on sale in almost all stores. The combo bags come in three pieces with different designs of cartoons like Superman, Spiderman, Cars, Frozen, Hello Kitty and Princesses, among others. The price of this bag is as from Rs 750. Another trend is the small bags with wheels with cartoon designs. It is more appropriate for Grade 1 students. The price varies and starts as from Rs 700. For the pre-primary ones, plush shaped bags are still in trend and the price starts as from Rs 300 depending on size and material. 

For the secondary students, one trend is the anti-theft or sophisticated bag with the facility to plug your phone for recharge. The price starts as from Rs 1,000. The price for normal bags for secondary students starts as from Rs 600 depending on size and model. However, over the years, as pointed out by a director of a store in Port Louis, parents nowadays have become very choosy and they look for quality. “Parents are willing to invest in a bag that their child can use for a whole year without any issue. It is no more the same as before where a parent would buy a simple bag. Only the working class people can opt to buy simple bags. On the other hand, many parents opt for bags above Rs 1,000.”

For branded bags, parents should keep a budget above Rs 1,100 to Rs 2,000 depending on the brands. 

Shoes: Parents to buy two pairs

For a country like Mauritius where rainfall is very much common for the first half of the year, having the right shoes has become a must, says a shoe shop’s director in Port-Louis. “Shoes are very much important for children especially those who travel by bus. We have seen that some parents are taking two pairs of shoes because of current heavy rainfall, they believe they need a spare one.”

So, generally, the price of shoes starts as from Rs 300 and prices can climb up to Rs 3,000. For small kids, parents have to shell out from Rs 300 to Rs 1,000. For primary students, it starts as from Rs 450 to above Rs 1,000. For secondary students, it starts as from Rs 500 to Rs 3,000. The price of the branded ones starts as from Rs 1,000. 

The books available at Editions Le Printemps bookstores from Grade 9 to Grade 12 are as follows

Books Expected on 7th January 2019 from Malaysia

  • Computer science OL Classified Topic Chew
  • Excellence in English Language OL
  • Information Communication Tech sec 3
  • Workout English O L Appadoo
  • Parcours grade 10

Books expected on 7th January 2019 from UK

  • AS A L Mathematics - Krant  Gilbey
  • AS A L Mathematics Chalmers Gibley
  • AS A L Mathematics Dangerfield Gibley
  • AS A L Mathematics Pemberton
  • AS A L Mathematics Pemberton hughes
  • O L Mathematics - Hodder
  • A separate peace
  • Food & Nutrition 
  • CIE A L Economics -Terry Cook
  • Collected poems
  • Township plays - Atol Fugard
  • Excellence in O Level English
  • 9 Tales from Shakespeare
  • Computer Science OL Classified Topic 

Books expected on 8th January 2019 - France

  • Bibliocollege contes de perrault
  • Bibliocollege lettres de mon moulin
  • Bled orthographe
  • Fleurs d’encre 6eme
  • Fleurs d’encre 5eme
  • Grammaire Par exercise 6eme
  • Bourgeois gentilhomme
  • Une saison au congo

Books expected on 8th January 2019 

  • Maths counts for O level Grade 11
  • Tropical Maps Reading
  • Abrico 3
  • Master your English
  • Succeed in English grade 9 
  • 9 Tales from Shakespeare 
  • supplement to parcours 5
  • Parcours form5
  • Focus on chemistry Sec 3 grade 9
  • Focus on physics Form 3 grade 9
  • Understanding Computer science 

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