The cost of public education schooling is putting enormous pressure on families.
A recent report by financial service Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) reveals the national average cost to send a child to school for a year in metropolitan areas is $3,136 for primary schools and over $4,628 for high schools.
Victorian high schools top the list, with an average cost of $5,170. Victorian primary school costs are $3,489, second only to NSW. The two figures combined make Victoria the most expensive state in Australia for schooling children.
Although public education is considered “free schooling”, there are costs for school fees, extra curricular activities, clothing, necessities, travel and computers. Because the school year starts soon after the Christmas break, many families are short of money.
One parent interviewed by the ABC said she had even thought about selling the family car so she could afford to send her child on a school camp. One of her children had reading skills below average, and could only get extra tutoring with the aid of a charity, The Smith Family.
The Smith Family gives assistance to 38,000 people, and is only one of many organisations that helps struggling families cover the cost of education.
Graham Jaeschke, general manager of The Smith Family SA branch, says technology has become a big cost, for laptops, internet and broadband.