Revised syllabus nudges up cost of secondary school textbooks
But with discounts, the price of primary-level material is down from last year
The cost of textbooks is up by an annual average of 1 per cent for secondary schools and down 0.3 per cent for the primary level, a survey has found.
The findings are based on a Consumer Council poll of 53 primary schools and 43 secondary institutions. The cost included prices of compulsory textbooks and workbooks, but not notebooks, stationery or reference books.
Secondary students spent between $521 and $3,061 for this year's textbooks - an average of $1,783 against $1,766 last year.
Form Four students had the biggest increase at 4.8 per cent, mainly because of higher prices for chemistry and physics textbooks. New editions of these books were printed after the Education and Manpower Bureau changed the syllabus for the subjects. Some schools also required students to buy Form Four and Form Five books at the same time.
One publisher said the price of its chemistry textbook rose because the new edition is thicker, with 918 pages and a 24-page self-test. The new edition also has a CD-Rom and online assistance.
The education bureau said the syllabus had to be updated to better reflect social and technological changes.
As in the previous year, Form One students generally spent more money on textbooks than students at other levels because they had to buy reference materials such as an atlas, a Bible and dictionaries.
The cost of primary textbooks was between $717 and $2,516 - an average of $1,569. That is a 0.3 per cent drop from $1,574 last year. The Consumer Council said discounts and the number of subjects were some of the factors affecting the prices of primary books.
The school with the lowest cost for textbooks used self-produced books for its English and Chinese classes. The school at the other end of the scale required students to buy several Chinese, English and mathematics workbooks.