Background Information to the Study
Home economics is one of the compulsory pre-vocational subjects taught at junior secondary education level in Nigerian education system. According to Uko-Aviomoh (2005), home economics is a skill-oriented field of study that is expected to equip learners with survival skills that make for self-reliance, employment and paid employment. Occupational skills are best understood as competency on resourceful skills capable of steering an individual to be self reliant, independent and productive in meeting life’s challenges.
Home-economics is a broad field of knowledge and services concerned with all phases of family life, it’s a course designed to promote a healthy home and society. It is also the major delivery system of Education for home and family life.
Home-Economics is a broad field which embraces separate but interrelated subject areas thus helping individuals to think intelligently and make meaningful decisions of facts of life. These general areas of Home-Economics are skills oriented; they are expected to equip learners with a saleable skill that make for self-reliance, self-employment and paid employment. This means that the teachers should teach the subject well.
In Home Economics, two things are central in developing occupational skills. Pendargast (2004) described them as the ability to produce and the ability to distribute. The ability to produce involves acquiring productive-occupational skills. Productive-occupational skills enable one to produce goods and services. On the other hand, the ability to distribute includes acquiring entrepreneurial-occupational skills that enable one to market and distribute the goods thus produced.
Olibie (2001) noted that these abilities constitute the work oriented, career-oriented or occupational-oriented competencies that attempt to improve the efficiency and productivity of its recipient’s attitude required as craftsmen, business men and technicians at a professional or sub-professional level. Without teaching occupational skills, Home Economics educational program would fail in its role of empowering students to cope with the daily needs of life and surmount the economic challenges that appear to effect every profession and walk of life.
Studies into the teaching and learning of Home Economics in Secondary Schools by Ajala (2002) and Uko-Aviomoh (2005) lamented the inability of most secondary school graduates of Home Economics effectively apply occupational skills to ensure productive living. As a result of this lack of skills, students continue to lose interest and cannot perform successfully in their life careers. Presently, many graduates of Home Economics are not sure of their employment destination. In addition, many secondary school leavers have no decent jobs and have no capacity to start their own business after graduation, Oloidi (2000).
Thus, many are under-employed and cannot raise their living standard through the application of occupational skills and so they remain relatively poor.
Home Economics skill is very important in the hotel operation. The reason why many technicians earns more than some university graduates is because the technicians acquire more practical skills than the theories, unlike the graduates who were fed with theoretical experiences while in the universities. It can take you to places you do not expect you will find yourself. Skill acquisition is the ability to be trained on a particular task or function and become expert in it. It is a pity that there is “huge” parading of unemployment in many parts of the world today especially in Nigeria. This is giving many youths in different parts of the world today a sleepless night. It is one of the causes of rapid growth in crime in many parts of the world. But do you think there is any relationship between someone who has acquired skill on how to perform a particular job and make money from it and unemployment? The answer is no because the skill he has acquired can always speak for him/her.
Today, there are many unemployed graduates in the country. This is partly as a result of our long system of education that is more of grammar and not much practical learning. It is evident that the highest number of unemployed is found in the African Continent. The truth remains that the major causes of the unemployment among these vibrant youths is lack of skill to back up what they learnt from their institutions of learning. When these graduates were still in school, they did not border to learn at least one single skill, maybe that which is related to graphic designing, typing, hair dressing, electrical maintenance and others. If they have learnt any skill at all, the rate of unemployment will reduce among them.
The relevant literature is reviewed under the following headings:
Acquisition of Skills in Home Economics Education for Self-Reliance
Home Economics education, in its traditional role, facilitates the adjustment of the skills and acknowledge of man to the changing demands within the society. Therefore, this form of education is deliberately designed to help man improve his skills. It places emphasis on skill development of the individual in chosen occupations. Realising the importance of skills to man’s survival in the world of work it is necessary to build up skills in individuals in a society.
Through acquisition of skills, individuals could explore their environment and harness the resources within which could serve them and the society. Home Economics education enables the youths to develop their knowledge and skills, adopt behaviours and be better able to survive in then- society. The knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired through home economics also enables the recipient to be a more productive citizen and nation building. Although all forms of education prepare individuals (directly or indirectly) for productive work, vocational and technical education is reputed for being the best form of education that prepares individuals for a specified work and not for world of work assumption (Olaitan, 1996).
The aim of vocational education is to produce the manpower who will apply the acquired knowledge towards improvement and solution of their environmental problems, thus making the environment more useful and convenient for man. This is in line with the notion that “For economic technological growth of any nation, functional education in terms of vocational-technical education is necessary” (Oluwepo, 1992).
Apart from enabling the individual to hold productive employment, Home Economics skills develop in the course of training increases the productivity and earning capacity of the recipient. A well trained worker is more productive than a poorly trained one. Consequently the development of Home Economics skill enables a person to earn more remuneration or income. Olaitan (1992) stated that the benefits of vocational education to the individual are increased employability and higher job mobility. He went further to explain that people who have been trained for specified jobs in the world of work are highly employable and less likely to suffer severe unemployment than those who lack specific occupational skills.
As a result of the versatile uses to which home economics trained jobbers can put their skills, such workers can change jobs easily in search of better environments or greener pastures.
Home Economics programmes also enable a person to make intelligent use of the products of technology, utilize new’ technologies, develop better entrepreneurial skills and become more innovative workers. Most importantly, however, it refines a person’s attitude to work. It sermonizes on the dignity of labour and develops in the individual, the feelings that work is both necessary and satisfying. For these reasons, persons who have passed through Home Economics education become more dutiful and more conscientious in their work. In addition, Home Economics Education helps to reduce the rate of unemployment in the society (Oranu, 1991; Olaitan, 1992).
In a country such as Nigeria where high rate of unemployment is being experienced, skill development from Home Economics programmes could be used by students to become self-reliant after schooling. For example, a graduate of Home Economics can engage in self-employed ventures like:
- Laundering and dry cleaning for commercial purposes.
- Tailoring and textile merchandising.
- Apparel decorator.
- Fashion illustrator
- Toy maker.
- Establishing a craft centre, which involves producing needle-craft, woven or embroider) articles on clothing and soft furnishings.
- Carrying out traditional printing on garments, tie and dye as well as creative batik design.
The knowledge acquired from consumer education, food and nutrition; first aid and home nursing can also enable the graduate to:
- Establish and operate a restaurant
- Work in day care centers
- Establish cookery/catering schools
- Organize food demonstration in the media
- Cake decoration services
- Poultry operation
- Manufacture and sale household agents
The knowledge acquired from education can help the person to:
❖ Teach in nursery, primary and secondary schools.
❖ Set up a nursery school, organize adult education classes for women with emphasis on teaching of occupational skills (Ochonogor, 2001).
The importance of acquiring Home Economics skills
- Self-employment: a skill acquired man is a self-employed man. A self-employed person can never go hungry because the skill he acquired provides food for him/her on a daily basis. But one who lacks skill acquisition will find it difficult to be self-employed because he/she has nothing to offer.
- Helps the society not to depend on white collar jobs.
- Helps youth develop a positive attitude towards work and labour.
- It reduces poverty.
- Helps youth to be self-reliant and independent.
Constraints in Acquisition of Skill in Home Economics Education
One major problem of Home Economics education in our society is its poor public image. It was regarded as a subject that could be taught by every mother. Parents looked down on Home Economics and thought it was a sheer waste of time and money to include it in the school curriculum (Olaitan and Agusiobo, 1981). Another problem is that of qualified manpower. There is dearth of qualified manpower especially in clothing and textile. This could be attributable to poor remuneration and low status image. As a result many available clothing and textile teachers abandon their teaching jobs for more attractive opportunities in the industry.
Home Economics is capital intensive and there is need for the procurement of equipment and tools. The high cost of procuring equipment and the poor resources of Nigeria during this economic recession period means that Home Economics programmes in this country cannot stay current with modern industrial demand. Also, lack of infrastructure and instructional materials are other problems facing Home Economic programmes. Practical work constitutes an essential component of Home Economics education. It is obvious therefore, that without adequate equipment, programme implementation and structuring would be very difficult if not impossible. Anyakoha (1992) pointed out that Home Economics programmes with poor facilities base would produce ill-equipped graduates who will lack the skills and confidence required for self-reliance. In consideration of the aforementioned it has become necessary to offer some suggestion for improving skill acquisition in house economics education as it plays a vital role in human development.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Home Economics as a skill oriented subject offers a lot of occupational opportunities in areas like hotel operations, clothing and textiles, food and nutrition, home management, consumer education, equipment and housing, interior decoration, child care, human development and family. It can equip youths and adults with saleable skills that will make for self-employment and self-reliance. In order to ensure this, there is need to intensify the teaching of Home Economics at various levels of education in the country. Teachers need to keep abreast of what is new in their field and adapt their programmes to the present trends in the society.
Finally, Home Economics programmes should be designed to provide skills and ability for easy adaptation to new situations, one in which knowledge and skills could he applied under changing conditions in the hotel operations in Eket.
It is concluded that acquisition of Home Economics skills is a prerequisite in operation of a successful Hotel business.
It is therefore recommended that:
(1) The acquisition of Home Economics skill is necessary tool for a successful Hotel business operation.
(2) Only Home Economics professional should be allowed to operate Hotel business.
(3) There should be regulatory bodies to supervise and monitor the activities of Hotel operator to ensure the work with the stipulated standard.
Acquisition of Skills in Home Economics Education for Self-Reliance
Agwasim, B. N. and Yaroson, M. C. ( 1985) Teaching Home Economics in Colleges of Education and Universities. Zaria: Institute of Education A.B.U.
Anyakoha, E.U. (1992) Development and Utilization of Facilities for Home Economics Education Programmes in Nigerian Schools and Colleges for Manpower Development. In Anyakoha. E.l and Oranu, R. N. (1992) Vocational Technical Education and Manpower Development. Nigeria: NVA.
Byrd, F. M. (1977) A Definition of Home Economics for the 70s. Journal of Home Economics. 62(5).
Federal Government of Nigeria (1998) National Policy on Education. 3rd Edition.
Ifayefunmki, S. A. (1990) The Role of Vocational Education in the Provision of Job Opportunities m Nigeria. Teaching Education Today 2 (1).
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Nyerere, J. K. (1979). Education for Self-Reliance. In Africa Curriculum Organization (ACO) – Basic Training Course in Systematic Curriculum Development. Published by the Kenyan of Education and the German Agency for Technical Co-operation
Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of Sir Pee Integrated Services and www.libraryguru.com and www.projectvilla.com.ng. A reputable researcher, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.