Date
25 June 2017
Parents are crying foul at persistent price hikes of textbooks. Most are for compulsory subjects, so they have little choice but to accept the price increases. Photo: HKEJ
Parents are crying foul at persistent price hikes of textbooks. Most are for compulsory subjects, so they have little choice but to accept the price increases. Photo: HKEJ

Textbook prices to go up 2.1% on avarage next school year

Textbooks for primary and secondary schools will cost an average of 2.1 percent more in the next academic year, the Education Bureau (EDB) said.

Ng Ka-shing, EDB’s principal education officer in curriculum development, said the price hike is 0.2 percentage point lower than last year and is also the smallest in seven years, hk01.com reports.

Prices of about 60 percent of electronic textbooks will remain unchanged or even be cut.

Ng said there is a bigger room for price reduction on electronic titles as they could save on printing and physical storage, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

Ng said the average price increase of these electronic titles will be 0.6 percentage point while the biggest price cut for a particular textbook is 17 percent.

Ng said about 40 percent of primary and secondary students are beneficiaries of the government’s School Textbook Assistance Scheme and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.

The average subsidy for each eligible student under the two schemes has increased by 3.6 percent this year, bringing the total above HK$1.15 billion.

Shek Kwok-kei, publisher of Pilot Publishing Co. Ltd., which specializes in secondary textbooks, said the increases over the past few years were no more than 2 percent, which could barely offset rising costs.

Shek said the huge drop in demand for textbooks, due to a decrease in secondary students in recent years, poses great difficulties for the publishing business.

Fewer elective subjects and increased paper costs, which have gone up by 20 percent this year, have made life more miserable for publishers, Shek said.

Publishers have opted not to roll out revisions in recent years and are reluctant to publish titles for elective subjects which are less popular with students.

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