AMMAN — As the new academic year approaches, students are preparing to return to their schools, while the commercial sector is anticipating an upswing in school supplies sales.

According to Ministry of Education spokesperson Ahmad Masa’fah, schools will reopen for the 2023-2024 academic year on August 20, while administrative staff will return on August 13, Al Mamlaka TV reported.

Over 2.25 million students from across the Kingdom are expected to start the new academic year, Masa’fah added.

Representative of the clothing, footwear and jewellery sector at the Jordan Chamber of Commerce Asaad Qawasmi told The Jordan Times that the commercial sector is expecting an uptick in market activity this month as parents begin to purchase school supplies.

“All necessary items are available in the local market,” Qawasmi said.

Prices of “back to school items” may vary based on the quality of the products, but overall, they are expected to remain similar to last year’s prices, he added.

Public school uniforms are domestically produced, and their prices vary depending on the quality, typically ranging from JD5 to JD10, Qawasmi said.

The estimated costs of school supplies per student, which include a school bag, uniform, shoes and a sports outfit, range from JD30 to JD40.

Sayed Kloub, who owns a stationary store in Amman, told The Jordan Times that his shop is fully prepared to meet the demands of the students and their parents.

“We have stocked up on a wide range of school supplies, including pens, notebooks and backpacks, to ensure that students have everything they need. However, demand is still low,” Kloub said.

Kloub noted that the market has been suffering from low purchasing power for years, meaning that parents no longer buy a whole set of back-to-school items anymore. Instead parents are forced to prioritise the necessities, he added.

Aziza Nahar, the mother of three children, told The Jordan Times that mothers are currently actively looking for good deals to ensure that kids have what they need “without breaking the bank”.

“The cost of school supplies can be a burden on our family budget. I hope that prices will be reasonable,” Nahar said.

Meanwhile, Fakhir Da’as, the Coordinator of the National Campaign for Student Rights, raised concerns about the educational landscape in Jordan.

“Over 25 per cent of students in Jordan attend private schools,” Da’as said, noting that this relatively high figure reflects a lack of trust in public schools. Commonly cited issues in public schools include overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure, which negatively impact students’ academic performance and behaviour, he said.

Successive governments bear responsibility for the current state of education in public schools, Da’as stressed, lamenting the Ministry of Education’s budget reduction.

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