Struggle to cover school expenses intensifies: survey

Economy May 09, 2014 00:00

By Erich Parpart
The Nation

Rising debt, lower incomes and rising prices have combined to add pressure on parents as they buy school supplies such as uniforms, shoes and books, according to a survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

“Parents are complaining that they are spending more for fewer goods. This is an indicator of the rising price of products,” said Vachira Kunthawethep, a UTCC economist.
Based on a sample size of 1,254 parents, 51 per cent said they had to spend more for their child’s education this year, and 50.1 per cent said they got less for their money than last year. Some 76 per cent of those surveyed said they had to spend more for clothes this year.
Vachira said that because of the rising cost of living and lower incomes, parents this year had turned to loans outside the banking system to cover school expenses, which average Bt6,900-Bt7,000 per child. Many urged the government to provide some financial help for their child’s education.
Spending during Visakha Bucha Day next Tuesday is also expected to be lower, according to the UTCC survey. 
A total of 43.4 per cent of respondents believed that there would be less celebrating during this Buddhist holiday because of rising goods prices (46.9 per cent), a worsening economy (41.1 per cent) and rising fuel prices (12 per cent). 
However, 87.7 per cent said they would still go to make merit at the temple; 67.4 said they would use their money for making merit but only 7.3 per cent of people in Bangkok said they would spend to return home to their provinces.