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School book prices set to rise 3.3pc

Winnie Chong

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The price of school textbooks is set to increase 3.3 percent from the next academic year in September, according to an education official.

Principal education officer (curriculum development) Tam Koon-che, said although textbook prices are a commercial decision, the issue relates to livelihood. He urged publishers to take social corporate responsibility and show restraint on price rises.

For example, three Chinese textbooks for a junior secondary form that cost HK$362 will rise to around HK$376.

Tam said that since last year publishers have started debundling primary and junior secondary textbooks from teaching and learning materials.

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But Michael Ng Chi-wah, a committee member of the Hong Kong Educational Publishers Association, said debundling of textbooks will not help to greatly lower costs. He said some science books after debundling may only be HK$1 to HK$2 cheaper.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Council found the average cost of booklists for primary schools was HK$2,219 last year and HK$2,186 for secondary.

A spokeswoman for the Anglo- Chinese Textbook Publishers Organization and Hong Kong Educational Publishers Association said while companies understand the financial burden on people, they are also facing inflationary pressures in their business.

Elsa Tsang Wai-man, general manager of educational technology provider Smart Education, said e-textbooks are 30 to 50percent cheaper than hard copies. And with the introduction of e-books next year in schools, publishers may consider new strategies.


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