Prices for textbooks in the next school year will rise by around 2.6 per cent, according to the Education Bureau.
The price rises, for both physical and electronic textbooks, were announced in an article on the Education Bureau’s website by the Bureau’s Principal Education Officer Joe Ng Ka-shing.
Despite the increase, Ng said that government policies meant prices for school textbooks have stabilised in recent years.
“In recent years, the Education Bureau has pushed to implement dedicated measures that stabilise textbook prices, to ease the burden of buying textbooks for parents,” he said.
Government measures to tackle textbook price hikes included limiting the number of times publishers can update their materials to once every five years, and encouraging the re-use of second-hand textbooks.
The government also said they have been communicating with publishers to stop them bundling textbooks, and teaching and learning materials together into packages. These packages mean that schools pay higher prices for materials, and that cost is eventually passed on to parents and students.
Despite these measures, Ally Chan, 16, from Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School, said she still spends around HK$3,000 every year on school textbooks.
“Although we can always opt for second-hand ones, most of them have many notes and [writing] all over them,” she said, adding that this can get in the way of her studying. Ally also said she hardly uses some of the textbooks she buys, as her teachers often choose to use their own notes in class. “It is actually quite a burden.”
Eunice Yip, 17, from Pooi To Middle School, says books have been really expensive since she was in primary school. “Textbooks prices are still going up. Gradually, a lot of people [will not be able to] afford to buy books,” she said.
Mimi Wong Wing-yan, 14, from HKMA K. S. Lo College, says that the government’s price-cutting measures simply do not work, because publishers don't only update their textbooks, they also “force you to buy more drilling exercises to earn more profit”. She believes textbooks should be replaced by ebooks, which can be updated by students for free.