Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Carve a niche in home science
Sunit Dhawan

Have you completed your schooling and find yourself at the crossroads regarding making a career option? Do you want to make it big in life but find the technical and scientific fields rather uninteresting? Are you fascinated by the glamour of fashion and hotel industry, or want to be among kids for the rest of your life?

If you are an ambitious young girl and your reply to any one or more of the above questions is in the affirmative, the discipline of home science beckons you to a whole new world of apparel designing, institutional housekeeping, child development and pre-school management, family studies, home economics, nutrition and dietetics, and lots more.

Prospects

The best part about joining a study programme in home science is that apart from going for a job in public or private sector, the graduate and postgraduate professionals in this stream can establish an entrepreneurial unit or even start a commercial venture from their home.

Those inclined towards teaching can join an educational institution, while the ones having a flair for fashion technology can join industrial export houses or garment-manufacturing units as apparel designers. They can also set up a commercial venture of their own and provide employment to others.

The recent boom in health clubs and fitness centres has led to an upsurge in the demand for nutrition and dietetics specialists. They can also join the food processing industry or start a bakery or confectionery-making unit of their own. Besides, they can go in for higher studies abroad and work in the research and development sector.

Home science professionals can work as student counsellors or establish a creche, pre-nursery school, boutique or counselling centre.

Where to study

Several state agricultural universities, colleges and institutes offer certificate, diploma and degree-level courses in home science. Of these, the College of home science, M.S.University, Baroda, SNDT College, Mumbai, Lady Irwin College and Institute of Home Economics, New Delhi, Government College of home science, Chandigarh, Shree Avinashlingam College of home science, Coimbatore, besides the home science colleges and departments at the agricultural universities of Punjab, Haryana, Uttaranchal and other states are among the reputed ones.

Admission criteria

The admission to degree programme in home science is usually made on the basis of merit in the qualifying examination. However, some universities conduct an entrance test for admission to the course.

Though the field has been traditionally adopted only by girl students, efforts are now being made to make it open for boys as well. Besides, there is also a proposal to change the name of the course to underline its wide perspective.

Course contents

Home science is taught as a subject in BA and BSc degree programmes. State agricultural universities and some other institutions also offer honours and specialised BSc degrees in the subject. There is a plethora of postgraduate courses in food and nutrition, human development and family studies, family resource management, clothing and textiles, jewellery-designing, child-rearing and pre-school management, institutional housekeeping and home economics.

Thrust areas

Of the specialisations offered in the discipline, clothing and textiles and nutrition and dietetics are emerging as the most sought-after ones. The students opting for textile designing can join a garment unit or start a commercial venture like a boutique or stitching and tailoring shop of their own.

On the other hand, professionals trained in human nutrition and dietetics are readily absorbed by hotels, food-processing industry, health clubs, fitness centres, hospitals and gymnasiums.

Many institutions also run short-term diploma and certificate courses in apparel and jewellery designing, bakery and confectionery, child development and family resources management, human nutrition and dietetics.

Home science professionals, especially girls from the rural background, can run small creches, boutiques, tailoring shops or other businesses in their field of interest from their home.

Those interested in home science can also work on various research projects or join some social activity for a more satisfying experience.

In short, this field is replete with enormous possibilities and gives one an opportunity to explore and utilise one's creative talent to the fullest.

'We want to produce job-providers, not seekers'

Neelam Khetarpaul
Prof Neelam Khetarpaul, Dean, College of Home Science, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar

What are the latest trends in home science?

Home science has been taught as a subject at a number of traditional universities for a long time. Of late, students have started to realise the significance of a professional degree in the discipline. More and more students now want to go in for specialisations and the job market is also expanding.

Which areas are most popular among students?

More and more students are going in for nutrition and dietetics and clothing and textiles. These include specialised courses in bakery and confectionery and apparel designing.

What are the arrangements for training and practical exposure?

We have one full semester for practical training. Apart from the in-plant training facility, we take our students to rural households in our adopted villages in order to put their knowledge to some practical use in the larger interest of society.

What is the placement scene like?

Most of the students get job offers from the organisations in which they are doing their training. Since the students specialise in their own areas of interest and join training accordingly, many get absorbed there. Thanks to the boom in health clubs, fitness centres, boutiques, food-processing and garment-manufacturing units and pre-nursery schools, the demand for home science professionals is on the rise.

What is the best part of joining a course in home science?

Home science professionals can start a commercial venture of their own. Instead of adding to the ever-increasing tribe of job-seekers, they eventually provide jobs to others. SD