Should cooking be taught at school?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2012, 12:00am


Vanessa Wong Man-chi, 16, Diocesan Girls' School

While I do agree that the home economics curriculum equips young students with life skills that will prepare them for an independent life, I think it should not be made compulsory.

First, the development of technology and globalisation has rendered the skills taught in home economics - including cooking - obsolete.

Think of the microwave, the increasing number of Eastern and Western restaurants, and the convenient access to food and beverages at every corner.

If individual students want to cook dishes, they are welcome. But it should not be forced onto every student.

Second, home economics promotes gender stereotypes. I agree that the subject is becoming less gender-biased, since these life skills are considered to be essential for both girls and boys.

Yet the stereotypes still remain in many schools: girls cook, while boys do carpentry.

To promote gender equality and stop these stereotypes, students should be free to make their own choice.

Lastly, unless you are training to be a professional nutritionist, chef or carpenter, home economics is relatively less important than subjects like maths and English.

In conclusion, home economics can be useful. However, the subject also has its negative aspects. Therefore, I propose that home economics should be made optional for students.

Cathy Chan, 18, CCC Kei Chi Secondary School

Children nowadays are often blamed for being spoiled and unable to take care of themselves. A compulsory home economics course is an effective method to address this problem.

By learning basic skills like cooking, cleaning and money management, students can learn how to take care of themselves. We know that when parents become older or die, children need to live independently and look after their own families. Thus, it is important for students to come to grips with these important skills early in life.

To make sure that all students - regardless of sex and age - learn these skills, a compulsory home economics class is a must.

This can also help them develop a healthy lifestyle. By studying nutrition, they are more likely to have a balanced diet instead of consuming fast food, which contains a lot of of fat, salt and sugar.

On top of that, children have more opportunities to develop different interests. Many students have to study the whole day. A compulsory home economics class can give them more exposure to various aspects of life.

Some students who are fascinated with food and clothing or those who have artistic talent can develop these skills in a home economics class.

Some may argue that parents, not schools, should take up the responsibility to teach these basic skills. But due to long working hours, many parents lack time and energy to do this. A home economics class would provide the support and training that parents cannot give their children.

So why not make our home economics class compulsory?