It is all about living

“With growing concern for lifestyle, health and nutrition, the importance of Home Science courses is increasing in urban spaces,” observed Deepali Singhee, Principal, JD Birla Institute, Kolkata at a seminar on Home Science Education and Skill Development at Kodajji Basappa auditorium in Bengaluru recently.

Neena Jaju Pingaley, a lighting and environment design consultant said, “hence there are immense opportunities for home scientists today than ever before as people are constantly in search of various service providers like designers, home decorators, nutritionists, gift packers, tattooists, choreographers, wedding planners, embroiders etc. However, on the other side of the spectrum, the rate of job placement of home science graduates is rather low.”

Why is there a mismatch between what is demanded by consumers or the industry and the service provided by home scientists? Deepali observed, “there are numerous challenges in home science education today. Research in various Home Science subjects is the prime need of the hour. Investigations into housing, clothing, methods of cooking, food preservation, child care, cottage industries, household management are to be carried out. We need to think of how to live happily within the means available. Conservation of food values, elimination of malnutrition, design and decoration of the household, fabrics by utilising resources sustainably are some of the challenges that are yet to be studied in detail and applied.”

For Neena, Home Scientists do posses the knowledge and skills required to service the contemporary needs but are losing out by the web of super-specialised fields emerging on a daily basis. “They do not know how to package themselves according to what different sectors demand. Expertise needs to be conveyed in their respective terminologies,” Neena claimed. She felt colleges need to take initiative in creating portfolios for students before they graduate so that they will be able to focus on specific areas. “This would also prepare students to compete with those coming from specialised fields such as fashion designing, social work, business administration, tourism, textile engineering and dietetics,” she pointed out.

“It would also require problem solving bent of mind from the part of the student community,” Neena stated as she narrated a story. “Once upon a time, there lived a king who went on a pilgrimage to understand the difficulties faced by pilgrims in his empire. He had bruises on his feet, and it got swollen as the roads were bumpy. He decided to construct leather roads so that the journey would be easy for his subjects. The ministers were appalled as they felt it was not only a daunting but an avoidable task. Nevertheless, they could sense king’s concerns. One of them suggested, ‘why not provide leather covers to every foot in the kingdom instead of leathering the roads altogether?’ -- This might be a possible story behind the invention of footwear. Home Scientists therefore are not only to solve but to do it in the best possible way,” insisted Neena.

She continued, “the strength of Home Science is that it has parts belonging to classical subjects and others that belong to the emerging professional fields that cater to the needs of society. Therefore a home scientist needs to blend both and make a cocktail of his/her own.” For Neena, though Home Science has grown beyond its classical boundaries, the nomenclature still holds good as she conceives ‘home’ as the entity that makes life possible and beautiful. However, Jamuna Prakash, retired Professor, Department of studies in Food and Nutrition, Mysuru proposed, “as the discipline now relates to life and well-being, it can be referred as ‘Science of Living’.”

Speaking on the importance of Home Science to nation building, Jamuna stated, “though we have progressed as a nation considerably, there are wide gaps in health and social sectors. Progress in agriculture did not translate to progress in nutrition which needs to be addressed. Micro-nutrient deficiency, obesity, diabetes are some of the common health problems plaguing the nation for which home scientists have their role to play.” She continued, “In Gandhi’s view, food, health, literacy and behaviour (ahara, arogya, akshara andacharane) were key foundations for a nation which has to be pushed forward by Home Science graduates.”

The National level seminar was organised by Home Science Association of India in partnership with Smt. VHD Central Institute of Home Science, Bengaluru and sponsored by UGC.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 4:01:23 PM |

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