Cost of school iPads makes them tough tablet to swallow

Despite reports highlighting cost of free education - nothing changes

 

I always groan when I see the school uniforms for sale before the school summer holidays have even begun. I always complain when the book list comes home from school mid-March, due for completion and return to school, with monies, usually at the time when we have a communion, confirmation, birthday or some other such expense.

And I always rant - a lot - when requests for registration fees, voluntary contributions and “extras” arrive in the door, due for imminent payment, and adding to the year’s many expenses.

But this year I may have been even more vocal in my displeasure.

Part of this might be down to the fact that my hoover died an unexpected death when it was dropped down the stairs by a willing and able three-year-old who wondered what would happen if he detached the hose from the main body.

It might even be down to the fact that my overworked washing machine gave up the fight when my laundry pile was at its highest. The drum as it slowly ground to a shuddering halt appearing to murmur “why couldn’t I have been bought by a family with normal laundry requirements” echoing the same despair I felt at its cessation.

‘I understand the desire for identity amongst sameness - but how much kinder a sew-on-yourself crest would be to all parents’ pockets‘
‘I understand the desire for identity amongst sameness - but how much kinder a sew-on-yourself crest would be to all parents’ pockets‘

But it was definitely down to the fact that on top of these unexpected and not minor expenses that go with running a household and - general life, I would need to cough up almost €1,000 for an iPad ebooks for the next child due to start secondary school.

I’d read with interest, articles about the school in Meath where parents had objected to their school’s move to iPad usage and I’d mentally cheered them on, glad to see that reasonable objections could gain momentum rather than be restricted to the confines of one’s personal rants.

Because like them I have my own concerns, having children who are already only too keen on their electronic devices. I thought of the articles I’d read which suggested children may not learn as effectively from devices as textbooks. And I thought about my recent visit to the optician and the question he asked during my eye-test - “do you spend a lot of time working with screens?”

With genetics already working against them, I’m not overly keen to potentially speed up the process for my kids.

“Yes” I replied knowing my eyes had already sold me out, while he nodded in understanding, uttering “ah that explains it”. “We’re seeing an increased amount of short-sightedness in children too” he added “for the very same reason”.

With genetics already working against them, I’m not overly keen to potentially speed up the process for my kids.

But beyond all that, there is the astronomical cost to consider - It doesn’t seem to matter how many reports come out year after year, highlighting the enormous financial burden that back to school involves - nothing significantly changes.

And I know from speaking to many other parents, (who have more socially acceptable numbers than I) that this not just a large family issue.

I, like thousands of other parents this summer will continue to buy crested uniform pieces while gazing longingly at the special offers on the generic variety

I, like thousands of other parents this summer will continue to buy crested uniform pieces while gazing longingly at the special offers on the generic variety. For a time I tried to console myself with the fact that my purchased items were “better quality”. Whether that proved to be the case or not, I really don’t know.

Rarely has a school jumper or tracksuit top survived a full year - sunny days, rainy days or an urgent need for goalposts has seen them regularly discarded with reckless abandon, never to make their way home again. But even should the unexpected happen, those pesky kids just keep on growing with little regard for the money we may have spent with hopes of longevity - so the items would need replacing anyway!

I understand the desire for identity amongst sameness - but how much kinder a sew-on-yourself crest would be to all parents’ pockets.

Especially when you consider all the other necessities to be purchased. Books, shoes, stationery, sports-wear - the things that cannot be avoided. Though I remain amazed that of the hundreds of books I’ve purchased and painstakingly covered over the course of their education so far, very few have been on the booklist of the sibling who followed.

They might not make the possibility of a holiday any more likely, but they’d definitely make the cost of replacing the hoover and fixing the washing machine a bit less painful

“Going anywhere nice over the summer?” a fellow parent asked me on the last day before the school holidays.

“Not this year” I replied, “or for the next fifteen” I laughed, only half-joking. “I have one starting secondary in September - and the cost of the pads!”

Yes I’d definitely favour sticking with school books. They might not make the possibility of a holiday any more likely, but they’d definitely make the cost of replacing the hoover and fixing the washing machine a bit less painful.

Free education my eye!

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