Free school supplies for students are high on Prince Edward Island’s priority list, and maybe other provinces should learn something.
The province announced on Tuesday that it’ll be investing $790,000 into providing school supplies to public school students for the 2022-2023 school year.
This initiative will cover students in kindergarten all the way up to grade nine.
— Government of PEI (@InfoPEI) June 28, 2022
“The back-to-school season can be a stressful and expensive time for many families,” said Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Natalie Jameson. “Providing free school supplies is a positive initiative that gives students equitable access to essential supplies and takes some of the financial burden away from families.”
Canadian families end up spending an average of nearly $1,000 on back-to-school shopping per child annually. According to a Retail Council of Canada survey, this number dipped significantly after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
In 2019, Canadian parents spent around $919 on back-to-school shopping, but in 2020, they spent a median of $727.
With students returning to school after several months of in-person classes, shopping for supplies can take a toll on people’s finances.
“It is such a relief to parents, who will no longer have the burden of paying for school supplies for K-9 students, and to teachers who will not have to hunt for deals on pencils or scribblers,” said Dionne Tuplin, president of the PEI Home and School Federation.
“It is also wonderful that there will be consistency and equity in the classrooms, every child will have the same standard of supplies and we know that they will be well equipped for the year ahead.”
Students covered in this program will still need to bring in their own backpacks, lunch bags, indoor shoes, calculators, and headphones, wherever applicable.
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The PEI government estimates there are 15,900 public school students who will benefit from this endeavour.
In a news release, officials said the schools were allowed to choose between school/teacher-based purchasing and partaking in centralizing purchases through their school authority.
Teachers will be able to identify the needs of their students in each classroom and all supplies ordered will be delivered prior to the beginning of the school year.