The Prince Edward Island Government has announced that they’ll invest USD 790,000 to provide free school supplies to all students in public schools from kindergarten to Grade 9 in the new academic year 2022-23. The initiative aims to reduce the financial burden on parents' shoulders during the back-to-school season.
According to Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Natalie Jameson, providing free school supplies will ensure all students will have equitable access to the supplies. Usually, Canadian families spend approximately USD 1000 on school essentials every year. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers have dwindled significantly.
In 2019, parents spent approximately USD 919, while in 2020, the numbers dipped to USD 727. Several factors are responsible for the financial strain on parents during 2020-2021. These include:
Schools can choose between school/teacher-based purchases or a centralised purchases system through their schools. In the latter, teachers must provide a list of supplies required in their classrooms. After receiving the list, the government will provide the supplies before the session starts in September.
The government believes that more than 15,900 students in public schools will benefit from this program. However, students covered in this program must bring their own indoor shoes, lunch bags, backpacks, calculators and headphones.