Despite huge discounts up to 50% on stationery and school supplies, demand for such products has dropped 30% over September and October.
The downturn has been attributed to the growing push towards remote education, and the reliance of most students on e-learning using computers and mobiles due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mostafa Khaled, Head of the Office Equipment Division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, said that sales of stationery, bags, and school supplies decreased by 30%. This comes despite the constant prices, affected by the global pandemic and decrease in number of school days, compared to last year.
Khaled also said that there has been a 30%-50% decrease in prices at the “Hello Schools” exhibition, as well as in Fagala Street, Cairo’s biggest market for school supplies. However, despite the discounts, sales of items did not move but rather declined by a large percentage compared to previous years.
In late September, the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trading organised the “Hello Schools” exhibition which saw the participation of over 300 companies. The exhibition was designed to provide all stationery, school bags, uniform and supplies at reasonable prices to citizens, with discounts reaching up to 50%.
Branches and pavilions at the exhibition were also to be found at libraries in more than 12 governorates, in addition to 19 sub-exhibitions and 40 movable exhibitions. The main exhibition took place at the Exhibition Zone in east Cairo’s Nasser City, with the participation of 317 exhibitors in various fields.
Khaled added that Egypt’s import bill decreased by 40% this year compared to last year, due to the abundance of stock among importers. The recent lack of movement in sales, particularly among school and other study supplies, has been attributed to the suspension of schools in March 2020.
Tarek Shawky, Minister of Education, announced the features of new 2020/21 academic year in which classes will be made smaller with students to go in on different days of the week.
Shawky explained that from KG1 to Grade 3 of primary, attendance in single-shift schools will take place four days a week.
For two-shift schools, attendance will take place three days a week, and from Grades 4 to 6 of primary school, attendance in single-shift schools will be two days a week, with attendance at two-shift schools to take place three days a week.
Meanwhile, in Grades 1 to 3 of preparatory schools attendance will be two days a week, and from Grades 1 to 3 of secondary school, attendance will take place two days a week.