Q1. Do you think back-to-school shopping costs more this year than before?
Khamis al Siyabi, Driver
Back-to-school shopping costs are definitely higher this year. Prices of most essential supplies needed for schools have increased by 30-50 per cent compared to last year.
Ahmed al Kharoussi,
Retired government employee Yes, they have definitely shot up considering this is the peak season for back-to-school shopping. The shopping season will continue till Eid al Adha and prices too will not go down. But then, shopping expenses can be adjusted to one’s financial status. There are many options available.
Yahya al Hassani, Government employee
It depends on how many children are there in the family. If there are more children cost of back-to-school shopping is bound to increase every year. However, it is up to families to shop from places that suit their budgets.
Yahya Zakaria, Logistics head
This year the prices of most essential school items have increased but the quality has deteriorated. For example, a poor quality school bag today costs at least RO7. Families with four or more children will be the most affected in such situations.
Q2. Do you think sales and discounts offered during back-to-school promotions are genuine?
Nayyar Afridi, Businesswoman
Discounts offered on most products and promotions labelled as back-to-school etc are just marketing gimmicks that are made to lure more customers.
Nishanth Raj, Sales executive
Some of these promotions are quite good especially the ones that offer products as packs or bundles as you get more items for the price of one.
Aiman al Yahmadi, Private sector employee
I think such sales are not genuine. Most often you find that items children like are not on sale and you end up paying more. Most items kept on promotions are part of old collections and outdated.
Mahadev Panwar, Engineer
Promotions are a marketing gimmick to increase sales. You often find that shops increase prices and then sell at reduced prices to lure customers to their fold.
Halima Jamal, Student
There are genuine promotions where you get real good deals. But then such promotions are rare and one has to buy in bulk to avail such offers.
Q3. Do you think fees for private schools are on the higher side in Oman?
Shazia Baber, Homemaker
Yes, private schools’ fees are on the higher side in Oman, but since it is a global trend, it seems fair.
Rabiya Shanawaz, Doctor
School fees of private schools are generally high when compared to community schools. Parents who can afford to give their children a good start in life pay high fees hoping it helps them get that edge later in life.
Ashika Dharmaratne, Homemaker
Private schools in Oman charge quite high and this discourages many parents from admitting their children even though the quality of education is good.
Ahmed al Hinai, Private sector employee
School fees in most private schools are much higher when compared to others. People with low income and more children would definitely find it difficult to even think of such schools as an option, even if the quality is much better.
Ahmad Kabeer, Businessman
Fees of private schools in Oman are higher when compared to community schools. Such schools charge high probably as they offer better facilities and more extracurricular options to students which is important for their all-round development.
Q4. Do you think authorities should cap fee hikes by private schools?
Ayodya Mahabaduge, Chief accountant
It would be good if the government can put a cap on fee hike by private schools. This will particularly be of help to those parents who currently are not being able to send their children to quality schools due to high tuition fees.
Amal al Lawati, Private sector employee
The authorities must put a cap on fees of private schools and prevent them from hiking them randomly. The government regulates prices of all commodities, similarly schools too should be monitored for fees hike.
Mohammad Asghar, Engineer
There must be a cap over school fees. I know of some schools that increase fees twice a year. Schools are not supposed to be money-making machines but serve society by educating and producing responsible citizens.
Mohammad Khalid, Businessman
It will be a good idea if the government takes control as sometimes schools increase fees randomly. With a lot of people struggling with inflation and salary delays, fee hikes are unfair.
Sajid Hooti, Businessman
At times private schools offer better facilities as compared to government ones. For example, private schools organise more activities and programmes that help children groom well and so would obviously cost more. Bringing such schools under the government control may curb their independence and affect the quality of education too.