Parents this time of year are a bit touchy on the subject of the country’s free public education.
With classes starting Feb. 10, the push is on to get the required items for youngsters going to schools. The economics ministry estimated Thursday that parents will spend from 68,000 colons (about $136) to 91,000 colons (about $182) for each child, depending on the grade level and sex.
The ministry did another one of its surveys to find that prices vary dramatically even on smaller items.
For example ministry surveyors said they found a difference of 2,060, more than $4, in the price of identical dictionaries and a difference of 1,195 colons, a bit more than $2, on identical packages of construction paper.
Ministry workers collected data and researched the prices of student goods from 36 establishments within the metro area, which includes San José, Cartago, Alajuela, and Heredia. They looked at 340 different uniforms and 1,113 school items. The Ministerio of Economía, Industria, and Comercio took into account both items of the same brand and similar items that were of different brands, color, and sizes.
The Ministerio de Educación Pública has on its Web site lists of required items for each grade level. The higher the grade, the more expensive the items, the ministry survey found.
The survey report noted that there can be legitimate reasons for varying prices. The report cited girl’s stockings that ranged from 300 colons or 60 U.S. cents to 1,690 colons a pair, about $3.38.
The report noted that the less expensive stockings were mainly polyester while the higher priced pair were mainly cotton.
The survey, which is online HERE!, is a good guide for parents who want to shop around to get the best deal. The survey gives the names of stores and the prices in the extreme cases.