Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 12:30 pm

2020 was a year full of changes for people across the globe, and for school-goers it marked a massive shift to online and at-home learning…

This was often facilitated by busy parents trying to juggle working from home and supporting their families.

As we approach the ‘back to school’ season in 2021, a survey carried out by leading African retailer Game, has found that the biggest concern amongst parents of school-going children (76% of respondents) is whether schools will again be shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey, carried out in December 2020, was taken by more than 1200 South Africans – and covered questions around concerns and hidden costs of the ‘back to school’ period for parents. 67% of parents said they were concerned about finding the funds for stationery and other school supplies, while 56% were concerned about mentally preparing their children to return to school.

“Sending children to school is certainly a priority for most parents in South Africa – however, it is also a huge source of financial strain. This strain is exacerbated in 2021, following the tough economic times the country faced in 2020. Beyond uniforms and stationery, parents are having to cover costs around technology, after-care, and extra murals – for example – which makes it that much more important that they are able to purchase quality school supplies at unbeatable prices,” explains Katherine Madley, Vice President of Marketing, Game.

When parents were asked to rank the annual costs of sending children to school (excluding school fees) from most to least expensive, the results were as follows:

  • uniforms (including those for extra murals)
  • stationery, textbooks, and course materials
  • technology (laptops, ipads, cell phones, and data)
  • extra-mural activities (sporting goods, extra lessons and school trips)
  • food (lunches, lunchboxes and cooldrinks)

When asked what they were spending annually on each child, outside of school fees, the majority (78%) are spending less than R10 000, with 55% spending R5000 or less. Only 10% are spending over R21 000. This may well decrease in 2021, as the survey found that 20% of the sample had taken a salary reduction since the beginning of lockdown, 17% were retrenched, and 11% had to close their businesses as a result of COVID-19 and lockdown.

“South Africans will be looking to significantly drive down their expenditure in 2021 – with the cost of schooling remaining a significant factor. We understand this, and have worked hard with our suppliers to ensure the best possible deals on school supplies and stationery for the ‘back to school’ 2021 period,” concludes Madley.

For tertiary students aged 18 and over, Game offers a 10% discount across all product ranges on Mondays – student must present a valid student card in store to qualify.