Parents buy books day before school opens
Monday, September 2 2013
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Last minute buy: Mica Anthony, left, and Maria John pick up notebooks at Ishmael M Khan Bookstore, Henry Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. ...
Port-of-Spain was teeming with shoppers yesterday as parents and their children did some last-minute back-to-school shopping before schools reopen today.
Parents were still buying textbooks, school uniforms, sneakers and stationery. They were accommodated by many stores, which opened on Saturday, although it was Independence Day a public holiday, as well as yesterday.
Carol Lewis-Pierre said she was still shopping for school books and shoes because she had to wait to be paid, on Friday last. “It’s also a bit difficult because prices, especially books, are higher than they were before. Everything is sky high because school is opening just now,” said Lewis-Pierre.
She noted that two weeks after schools closed in July, one English book for her son cost $156 but when she priced it yesterday, the same book cost $229. In addition, she claimed some of the textbooks sold out early and she had to wait for them to be ordered.
Asked if she would not allow her son, a Standard Four student, to get the textbook from the Ministry of Education, Lewis-Pierre said even though the Ministry has promised to give students some textbooks, these were often the cheapest books for any subject. “Sometimes it takes one or two terms before the students get their books and sometimes they never get them. It makes no sense waiting when the children need the books to do the work,” she added.
Theresa Gibbs told Newsday some of the textbooks she needed sold out early and so she still had to buy a few. One father said he was simply too busy at work to shop for his son’s first day of school, and so was rushing to do all his shopping on the weekend before school reopened.
On the other hand, Candice Phillip said she had purchased everything necessary by mid-August and was already prepared for her child to attend school today. She too bought all the textbooks on her son’s booklist because, she said, sometimes the students do not get the books promised by the Ministry.
When Newsday visited downtown Port-of-Spain, most shoe, clothes and book stores were open for business. Detour on Henry Street, had a steady flow of customers, all looking for sneakers.
Bradford’s manager, John Sabga, said some customers told him that they bought the books with their last salary and uniforms with this month’s. “We are getting a nice flow of people but Saturday was extremely busy, and even next week will be really busy,” he noted. Ishmael M Khan and Sons was buzzing with shoppers picking up baskets of items containing everything from stationery to textbooks to uniforms. Employee, Raj Balkaran, said it was usual for parents to still be shopping on the day before school reopens because “Trinis just like to move last minute.” In fact, he noted that, up to yesterday parents, were still pricing and comparing books.
“Parents are buying everything, even the textbooks that are on the Ministry’s list because they are not sure when and if they would receive the books. Some of the books, you don’t know what sort of condition you will get them in and some of them you can’t take home for the students to do any revision. Parents are realising that their children’s education is important and are spending their money,” he said.
Inexcess supervisor, Janice Park, also admitted that Independence Day was usually a busy time for the workers, with most customers purchasing bags, and underwear such as socks and vests.