Parents to pay less for school supplies for the start of the school year

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Prior to the start of the 2021 school year, the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC), through the Quality Directorate, conducted a verification study on school and school supplies, which reveals that the average prices of the package of school supplies, including the salveque type package, show a decrease in cost compared to 2020.

Table 1

Average cost of a basic package of supplies + salveque package

CyclePrimary    Secondary 
StudentGirlBoyWoman Man
Useful costs 2021¢28 428¢27 281¢28 124¢28 158
Useful costs 2020¢31 962¢31 504¢31 574¢32 351
Difference in favour of the consumer¢3 534 (11%)¢4 223 (13%)¢3 450 (11%)¢4 193(13%)

These amounts are calculated on the basis of the average price of the establishments consulted and do not include the cost of textbooks, scientific calculators, tuition or uniforms.

It is important to mention that the prices of school and school uniforms were not analysed in this verification, because due to the pandemic conditions caused by Covid-19, the authorities of the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) have recommended for the 2021 academic year, a combined education model that mixes both face-to-face and virtual classes and a more flexible use of school and school uniforms.

The study was carried out virtually between 8 and 19 January in 22 commercial establishments (shops, supermarket chains and bookshops), who were sent a form to find out and analyse the variations in the sale prices of school supplies in different shops in the country, according to the official list of the MEP, adding the bag or rucksack.

The information was received from businesses located in Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, San José, Puntarenas and Limón.

Data collection included: pens; erasers; erasers; pencils; 100-sheet notebooks; folder folders; geometry sets; Spanish language dictionary; pencils; white sheets and lined sheets, for a total of 381 items monitored.

In addition, the study compared the prices of identical items (same brand and presentation) and similar items (minimum common characteristics, but not necessarily of the same brand and presentation).

In the case of identical products, the differences found range from ¢12 to ¢2,150 for letter-size folders, as detailed below:

Table 2

Five main differences found in identical tools

Basic Spanish language dictionaryApproximately 20 000 to 27 000 words¢3 350¢5 500¢2 15064%
Geometry gameA graduated ruler no longer than 20 cm, set squares, protractor and compass.¢450¢765¢31570%
Graphite pencil in blister packsBlack lead on wood, type HB, #2, with eraser, with 12 pcs.¢1 139¢2 404¢1 264111%
Single pencil eraserSize not exceeding 6 cm in length and 3 cm in width¢130¢295¢165127%
Letter-size folders21 x 27,5 cm¢178¢785¢607341%

For similar products the differences are up to 4 830%, due to the different brands on the market.

Table 3

Five main differences found in similar tools

Single penTransparent plastic and coloured cap, plastic tip, disposable¢57¢1 100¢1 0431 830%
School bag for boysNylon fabric, shoulder straps, with zip and front pockets (height, width and depth) approx. 35 X 30 X 15 cm.¢1 000¢24 000¢23 0002 300%
Men’s schoolboy salveque bagNylon fabric, shoulder straps, with zip and front pockets (height, width and depth) approx. 35 X 30 X 15 cm.¢1 000¢25 900¢24 9002 490%
Girl’s school bag for schoolgirlsNylon fabric, shoulder straps, with zip and front pockets (height, width and depth) approx. 35 X 30 X 15 cm.¢1 000¢29 900¢28 9002 890%
Letter-size folders21 X 27, 5 cm¢32¢1 580¢1 5474 830%

For more information on the study, go to:


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