Australian teachers are spending hundreds of dollars from their own pockets on basic school supplies for students because of widespread poverty affecting Australian children, new data reveals.
A recent survey sample of teachers from a broad cross section of primary schools in Australia showed 92 per cent had purchased essential classroom materials with their own money, 69 per cent of whom spent up to $500 on classroom and student stationery supplies in the past year.
The survey was conducted by leading teaching innovation company Education Changemakers and Australian stationery brand, Yoobi, which operates on a very simple premise: for every Yoobi item purchased, another Yoobi item is donated to a child or classroom in need in Australia through The Smith Family.
Yoobi is a socially conscious business which addresses an often-forgotten problem experienced in disadvantaged families. The Australian Council Of Social Service (ACOSS) Poverty Report 2016 showed that this back to school season 1.1 million children and young people * will be living in poverty across Australia and won't be able to afford what they need for school.
When putting food on the table is a struggle, many of these children will start the school year without the basic items they need to participate in class or complete assigned homework. As a result, many Australian school teachers are taking on a personal financial burden in order to ensure their students don’t suffer.
The survey found that:
· 92% of Australian teachers have bought essential classroom materials out of their own pocket in the past year.
· 91% of Australian teachers have worked with students that haven’t had access to basic school supplies at home.
· Individually, almost one third (27%) of Australian teachers are spending more than $500 of their own money each year on classroom and student stationery supplies.
· Almost half (47%) spend between $100 and $500 a year and 1 in 10 (10%) will spend upwards of $1,000 per year out of their own pockets.
The issue was commonplace across the survey sample, with teachers surveyed from all states in Australia in both metropolitan and regional/rural areas.
Mr Kalish said that with enough public support, the ‘You Buy, Yoobi Gives’ approach could go a long way in remedying the problem. In just 12 months of operation in Australia, Yoobi has already donated enough school supplies to cover 24,000 school children for an entire school year; that’s over 330,000 Yoobi items. In the US where the brand originally launched in 2014, the number of children impacted has reached over 2 million.
“We like to think of Australia as the lucky country – and in many ways it is – but that image obscures the facts that 91% of Australian teachers say they have worked with students that haven’t had access to basic school supplies at home,” Kalish said.
“Especially at this very busy Back to School period, we are urging parents to consider choosing Yoobi over other similar brands to help provide basic school supplies to less fortunate students, while stocking up on the essentials for their own kids for the year ahead. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Kalish said Yoobi had seen fantastic success in its first year , not only because of its one-for-one “give” model, but because of the bright, happy and colourful style of its products, most of which retail between $3 and $10.
“Recent price comparisons show Yoobi is still one of the most cost-effective stationery brands in the market, in some cases costing less than half that of its nearest competitors,” he said.
“Shopping for back to school items is always a time of excitement and anticipation as kids get ready to head into another school year, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case for all Australian kids. Yoobi is about levelling the playing field by providing fundamental access to school supplies for children in need and with the help of the back to school shopping public, we are well on track to achieve our goal of providing to 100,000 kids in the next year.”