Every year, the start of the school year announces the arrival of a financial cost for all families whose children are in school. This year is not lacking in it, and still gives us the opportunity to notice how “free, secular and compulsory” school is still not relevant, at least not at the level of the first point….
THE SCHOOL AN INCREASING COST FOR FAMILIES
What conclusion should be drawn from this? It is not the prices that fall, or the supplies that are less in demand by teachers, but families who buy less, they pay more attention to their purchases. The back-to-school season continues to represent a significant expense according to the CSF’s analysis, the average cost of a typical basket would be around €193 in 2018 (almost €50 for stationery, €100 for supplies, and almost €50 for sports supplies). Unfortunately, new supplies have been added this year, and the quantity of these has also increased…
BEYOND THE START OF THE SCHOOL YEAR THE COSTS OF SCHOOL MATERIALS
In addition to the lists of supplies required by teachers at the beginning of the school year, the cost of supplies needed by the student during the year, the amounts allocated to education are rising rapidly.
What funding for education? According to the CSF, the cost of the start of the school year (which varies according to the student’s age and level of education) represents nearly 90% of the monthly budget for couples with three children, receiving the smic. For couples with two children touching the smic, we are at 20% of the monthly budget with significant variations according to age and education levels.
To help families to support themselves, financial assistance is given to them: the Back to School Allowance (BSA). This is calculated according to the child’s age. For the CSF, it is clear that this calculation is incomplete:
“We argue, year after year, that children’s needs change according to their level of education,” they write in their 2018 Cost of schooling report, so the rest of the school costs must be covered by households, which represents significant sums in vocational programs.
THE HIGHER COST OF VOCATIONAL STUDIES
While many of the students who enter the vocational baccalaureate come from low-income families, the lack of funding for professional equipment makes it the most expensive source of income.
Thus in the pro-business bin, students are required to buy a suit… The CSF estimates that the cost of the first day of school for a student with a second industrial baccalaureate is around €680, compared to €400 for a student with a second general baccalaureate.
It should also be added that ARS support does not work for all pro-baccalaureate students, as some finish high school after the age of 18, an age that no longer entitles them to this support.
Getting school supplies, for the families is a real challenge, most of them buy their equipment on the second hand market. The fact that school materials are not free of charge contradicts the ambition of free education for all and for all.