Philosophy and Objectives of Home Economics


Philosophy and Objectives of Home Economics

Philosophy in general and definition of philosophy as applicable to discipline or profession. Philosophy is the statements that guide the training and practice of a discipline. 

In this article and the next we will focus specifically on the philosophy and objectives of Home Economics.

We shall consider the specific objectives of Home Economics. These objectives are derivable from the philosophy of Home Economics. Philosophy of an individual or a discipline is not static but is subject to change. The motivating factors to the involvement of the philosophy of Home Economics will be discussed. We will also consider the limitations and factors that pose challenges to the full implementation of Home Economics in Nigeria and other developing countries.

Need for Statement of Philosophy of Home Economics

The need for philosophy statement of a profession/discipline cannot be overemphasized. Every profession/discipline has a philosophical basis for training and practice.

Philosophy of Home Economics, therefore, are statements of belief which the training and practice of Home Economics are based.

The need for stating the philosophy of Home Economics arises for the following reasons:

1. To understand alternate philosophies of the discipline and their evolution in relation to realities of social changes.

2. To formulate goals, objectives and plans appropriate for Home Economics education and development in the nation concerned.

3. To develop necessary human resources and competence appropriate for various educational and community settings.

4. To articulate and defend a personal philosophy of Home Economics informed by professionally relevant conceptualization.

5. To organize one’s own professional resourcefulness, development and growth in matters relating to Home Economics.

6. Will elucidate (open up) areas of communication and collaboration with colleagues from relevant fields in planning and implementation.


What is Philosophy of Home Economics?

Defining Philosophy of Home economics, the philosophy of Home Economics has developed over the years, but the essentials of promoting family living has remained the centre hold. It has been stated in varying ways only to culminate in the same intent and purpose.

The American Home Economics Association defines Home Economics as a field of knowledge and service concerned primarily with strength of family.

At the international meeting of the Permanent Council of Home Economics (Berlin 1965), Home Economics was described as the possible knowledge of all problems regarding home and family, emphasizing research finding dissemination on matters concerning food, clothing, shelter, health and human relationships.

Olaitan and Onagusiobo have conceptualized Home Economics as the study of human and matter resources affecting homes and families, and the use of this knowledge for the benefit of mankind.

From both definitions above Home Economics appears to be the study of activities of the home and their relationships to their environment.

In other words, the philosophy of Home Economics could be simply said to be the conceptualization that defines its content as a discipline at any point in History.

In subsequent unit you will learn about the historical development of Home Economics. Hence the contemporary philosophy of Home Economics is the application of the knowledge from the pure and applied sciences, social sciences, Arts and Humanities to develop men and women with fundamental competences in proffering scientific solutions to problems in the use of resources to access and increase information on the facts of life and improve living in the family, the community, nation, and the world at large. 

From the definition of the contemporary philosophy of Home Economics you will observe that Home Economics as a discipline has a broad knowledge base, drawing on pure sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, applied sciences such as Nutrition, information technology, engineering of home appliances, while social sciences include subjects such as sociology, family living, human development and psychology.

In the field of Arts and Humanities, such knowledge as Fine Arts, and Environmental as well as Communication arts are inclusive. All these basic courses as mentioned here form the basis for the applied courses in Home Economics requires to produce competent personnel capable of improving the living of not just the family, but of the community, nation and the world at large.

Specific Objectives of Home Economics

The specific objectives of Home Economics are the specific competencies expected of professional Home Economists.

The unique and versatile preparation of the Home Economics graduate puts him/her in a position capable of taking up various types of positions in Nigeria and internationally.

Specifically, Home Economics examine the following:

1. Family relationships and child development.

2. Intellectual consumption of goods and services, including other economic aspects of personal and family living.

3. Nutritional needs for different age groups, in health and disease, including creative food utilization for physiological needs and for leisure.

4. Housing for the family, including interior decoration and outdoor terracing.

5. Design of textiles for clothing and for home decoration and other utilizations.

6. Selection, construction, and care of clothing to meet its psychological, social and functional significance.

7.  Arts and humanities as an integral part of everyday life to add value to living at the family and wider levels. viii) Part of legislative and social action programs which directly affect the welfare of individual and family.

8.  Co-operation with people of international cultures and agencies who contrive to raise level of living. 

9.  Carrying out research and applying findings to improve family, society, national and world-wide social and economic development.


Home Economics Philosophy

Philosophy of a discipline is dynamic in accordance with trends in societal values – i.e. the rapidly changing state of development of the society motivates the derivation of new philosophy of Home Economics. Motivating factors (values) are responsible for the need for re-statement of the philosophy of Home Economics at different era.

In a latter section of this course the historical development of Home Economics will be discussed. 

It suffices for now to say that the philosophy of Home Economics at an earlier stage is shown to be that of acquiring knowledge and competence in the arts of cookery, child care, housekeeping and handcrafting for girls in preparation for good home making.

Philosophy of Home Economics has shifted largely from this simple definition to a high level of professionalism.

Let us consider these factors which have motivated derivation of new philosophy for Home Economics: 

1. Knowledge of nutrition as a science with enormous implication for healthful living has made knowledge in physical and life sciences inevitable in Home Economics curriculum.

2.  Shift in the society from settlements of small communities to more complex urban dwellings calls for change in housing design and land-space management.

3. Human movements for business or leisure have been on the increase, creating need for institutional outfits mimicking home environment “a home away from home”, e.g. hotels, hostels and hospitals.

4.  More and more people eat away from home either as necessitated by long uninterrupted work hours away from home, or for the pleasure it creates, creating a conducive atmosphere for interpersonal business or social relationships, or just to break the monotony of “home cooking”. Adequate preparation in institutional food management will be required this wise.

5. Technology has facilitated domestic tasks – the Home Economist must be competent in the knowledge of operation and maintenance of domestic and institutional equipment.

6.  Improvement of the socio-economic status of most cultures has been reflected in their change of taste for higher aesthetic and functional values for clothing, housing designs and interior designs.

7. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has globalized information and ideas, and exposure to experiences, all of which have impacted standards of the society. Discovering the changing needs of industries, families, and societies and means of satisfying these needs has necessitated venturing into scientific research in Home Economics.

8. As more and more women get engaged outside the home impartation of early childhood education has shifted on alternate institutions, a phenomenon demanding knowledge of child care and development by the Home Economist.


Factors Hindering Effective Implementation of Home Economics Philosophy

It is obvious from discussions in this unit and the previous that Home Economics, according to its philosophy, is capable of adding value to family living, create a happier and community, progressive nation and a prosperous world at peace with itself.

However, it is necessary, at this stage, to bring to our awareness the factors that pose as challenges and limitations to the full implementation of Home Economics philosophy in Nigeria and in other developing countries.

These factors include the following:

1. Culture and social practices in which the Nigerian women (the homemaker) have very little or no control on decision making on issues that affect her home. This gender issue has arisen for the fact that the woman is often very much less educated and less empowered than her counterpart man. 

A global move to remedy this situation is however being addressed by including in “the Millennium Development Goals in Africa” the goal to promote gender equality and empower women.

2. Diversity in the cultural, religious and socio-economic environments calls for fragmentation of possible solutions to family and national problems.

3. The declining economy has limited the adoption of new technology that could enhance work simplification in the home. This same economic factor has limited funding for research work to identify the changing family and societal needs in order to proffer solutions to them.

4. A society not very dynamic in accepting and adapting to change in the face of changing challenges of the family, society, and the world.

5. Competition with other disciplines for science-oriented students has often limited enrollment for the Home Economics program in learning institutions.

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Conclusion on Philosophy and Objectives of Home Economics

Objectives of Home Economics cover a wide range from performance in family living, food use and nutrition, housing, textile designs, clothing designs and construction, researching, to being part of national and international agencies whose programs directly affect the family, society, world-wide. 

Philosophy of Home Economics is not static but evolves as a result of certain motivating factors. Implementation of Home Economics philosophy particularly in the developing countries is highly limited by factors such as gender inequality, socio-economic and diverse cultural and religious practices within a nation.

In this article we have examined the objectives of Home Economics. We have considered factors that motivate the derivation of Home Economics philosophy. We have also discussed the challenges and limiting factors to the full implementation of Home Economics philosophy and objectives

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