“What got me going was that parents have been phoning me about their children who are not going to make it to the first day of school because they have been unable to buy books,” says Thorhallur Heimsson, the priest of Hafnarfjordur Church.
Visir.is reports that he wrote on his blog that he had been receiving an unusual number of phone calls from worried parents unable to prepare their children for the new autumn term at school because of a lack of money to buy textbooks, stationery and registration fees. Heimsson said the problem particularly applies to students in post-compulsory education.
Asked whether he sees a danger of students leaving their studies due to poverty, Heimsson said:
“I ask: if you couldn’t start school on Monday because you had no books, what would you do?”
Heimsson says he has heard from people feeling absolutely helpless about the new school year already.
He says many parents have more than one child to support who need feeding and clothing at a time when prices are increasing fast.
The priest reminds people that they can look for help from the church charity and the local government’s community support for help. He said the cost of studying has gone up considerably and real wages have decreased and said the Ministry for Education should do something.
“I don’t know what needs to be done, but I know something has to be done.”