Posted 17 августа 2023,, 06:37

Published 17 августа 2023,, 06:37

Modified 17 августа 2023,, 09:33

Updated 17 августа 2023,, 09:33

A copybook with a 6-fold mark-up: deputies were puzzled by the price of textbooks

A copybook with a 6-fold mark-up: deputies were puzzled by the price of textbooks

17 августа 2023, 06:37
Antimonopoly authorities are asked to check the pricing of workbooks for schoolchildren, who are voluntarily and forcibly recommended to buy by parents. The difference in price for the same benefits can be up to 6 times. And parents are sure that you can do without these costs in principle.

Alexander Dybin

The problem was noticed by State Duma deputy Yana Lantratova, who asked the FAS to check the adequacy of prices for workbooks for schoolchildren. The deputy received several appeals from parents, and she herself, buying notebooks for her schoolboy son, noticed that the cost was suspiciously floating.

«When I bought my son educational literature, I noticed that the margin on workbooks varies significantly in different stores, » Yana Lantratova said, «So, the cost of a workbook on the Russian language in different stores on one of the marketplaces differs six times. Considering that with the beginning of the school year, families with school children already face significant expenses, an arbitrary increase in the cost of workbooks can worsen the financial situation of the family even more. I turned to the head of the FAS Maxim Shaskolsky with a request to check whether there is a violation of antimonopoly legislation here.»

Prices on marketplaces and offline stores can really be set from the ceiling. But, according to Anna Apakova, Director of Development of the Volgograd public organization «Large Volgograd», there are questions about the need to buy these benefits in principle. And it's not just the burden on the family budget, but also the development of children.

«Since funding for the purchase of any literature has been cut, of course it is more convenient for schools when such consumables that cannot be used for more than one year are bought at the expense of parents, » the expert says, «if a school suddenly has some excess funds, it will certainly direct them to additional textbooks rather than workbooks. We have been monitoring this situation since 2013, the problem went to different levels, corresponded with the Volgograd Department of Education, with the Ministry of Education, received answers, pointwise came to such situations when notebooks were still purchased. But it was really for a certain small amount. If the public keeps the issue under control, asks parents to report cases of forced purchase, then schools reduce the requirements. But as soon as the control weakens, they start offering more and more notebooks to buy again, well, because it's just business. Using my own example, I will say that I have a lot of students, the first one went to study in 2011 and during this time the practice is very different. At the beginning of this journey, we bought notebooks, for example, on music, technology, literature, where there were tasks like „draw a hero“. All this can be done in an ordinary notebook, without spending money on an expensive working one.»

By law, workbooks for training are not a mandatory element. And it all depends on the teacher. If he thinks it is necessary, he can offer to buy it to his parents. Sometimes even two approaches are implemented within the same class.

«Our class is divided into two groups when learning English, » says the mother of a schoolgirl from St. Petersburg, Valentina, «one teacher insists on buying a complete set: a textbook, a workbook and additional materials, the other asks only for a textbook. The difference is not so big — about a thousand rubles. At the same time, children from a teacher who does not ask for additional notebooks do much better.»

Anna Apakova explains that workbooks make life much easier for the teacher, and for parents with schoolchildren. Instead of creative work, the child solves template tasks and everyone is happy: the teacher gave the task, the parents see that the student is busy with something, the student — all this is given without much effort.

«This year I bought only notebooks on the Russian language and mathematics for my child, it came out for two and a half thousand rubles. If you take a complete set: with literature, the outside world, foreign, then there may be four or five, » she says, this problem is nationwide. We need an examination of these textbooks and materials, as far as they generally help children to learn. Teachers say that this instills test thinking, where they get carried away with notebooks, children fall into a stupor in front of an empty sheet of paper. They can't complete the task, because they are already used to put, underline, circle, choose the correct answer. Children write less, fine motor skills and abstract thinking develop less, children think less about such tasks. Plus, these notebooks are just heavier than the usual backpack and so not lifting. It looks like it's just a business, it's profitable for the publisher to release a textbook and a bunch of applications to it. But whether there is a benefit — you need to figure it out.»