The rising cost of living in South Africa leaves for very little room for one to enjoy the finer things in life, without having to cower under insurmountable debt.
Life is expensive. If social media and news headlines are anything to go by, we clearly cannot afford to educate our children – but no other time is this more evident than when parents need to kit them out for school.
From uniforms to stationery, registration fees to transport allowances to get to and from school… we hear the loudest wails from parents at the start of the academic year.
As a new mom at a crèche, I have not felt the pressure of buying a full uniform and a stationery list – but my readiness to provide for my children leaves me proud.
I knew there would be a January in November and December. I know and anticipate there will be another January next year – and so starts my preparation because in January prices skyrocket, queues snake around shopping malls and last minute things leave me frantic.
As parents, are we not familiar with what we are required to do for our children?
While we may be aggrieved by the price of things, teachers who require these items cannot be expected to continue without the necessary items. While a uniform doesn’t make my child better understand phonics, it is a requirement of the educational facility I have elected to enrol him in.
The obligation still solely lies with me as a parent to ensure his readiness. Teachers, schools and even the government remains a support structure and not an obligatory requirement for my son to be school-ready.
And as for a child who has no space in January: registrations begin around May/June.
Should preparations not be made from then for the next academic year?
We prepare well for holidays but feign horror at the price of our children’s education?
The price of education will continue to rise – it is a reality.
While education remains a basic human right, we cannot abdicate from the responsibilities of parenting.
We must do better – our children require it.