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Advocacy for Home Economics Teacher Training

July 11, 2011

Monday, 27 June 2011                                                                                  8/68 Erica Ave Glen Iris 3146   

  1/286 Toorak Rd South Yarra 3141

Dear  Sir/Madam,                     

We write as a group of Home Economics Teacher’s  (retired) who are concerned about the lack of Home Economics Teacher Training opportunities in Victoria

 In 2008, the Home Economics Victoria (HEV) supported RMIT in taking the initiative for introducing a Home Economics method as part of their Graduate Diploma of Education.  This method is required for teaching VCE Food and Technology and VCE Health and Human Development. Essentially, this was the only university offering this option in 2010.                                                                                                                                   

To be eligible for this method in the Graduate Diploma of Education requires an appropriate undergraduate degree. This need was met by the Bachelor of Science (Consumer Science) program, acknowledged by RMIT as the only one of its kind in Australia. Despite demand, this degree was cancelled in 2010. Without this three year undergraduate program, there is now no direct pathway for training for teaching in the Home Economics area in secondary schools in Victoria.

Home Economics professionals are advocates for individuals, families and communities. They guide, support and educate consumers in managing their resources to promote healthy, activities, social engagement and social justice.  The rising incidence of obesity is just one indicator that individuals are unable to make informed choices about ways to protect their health and the health of their families, with enormous implications for health care costs in the near future.   With many current teachers and other home economists due to retire in the next few years, there will be no way to educate students for work in this important area to address such pervasive problems.

The 2005 HEV survey of practicing teachers highlighted the considerable capital investment in infrastructure, with 58% of respondents indicating that their school had refurbished or built new kitchens within the previous 5 years.  This suggests considerable importance is attached to the teaching of Home Economics in Victorian schools.

Home Economics teachers have been at the forefront of education in secondary schools in Victoria, contributing to curriculum development for the early years of secondary education through to studies in VCE Health and Human Development and VCE Food Technology and including the introduction of VET programs. Many Home Economists hold leadership positions in schools and are leaders in their field internationally.  In July 2012 the International Federation of Home Economists (IFHE) Congress is being held in Melbourne hosted by HEV. The President-elect of this international organisation is a Victorian Home Economist. We are expecting 2000 Home Economists from around the world to attend. Despite the strong professional base in Victoria, there is now no program here to train students to teach and work in the Home Economics field.

We would appreciate your support in addressing the problems due to lack of undergraduate Home Economics Teacher training in Victoria.  

Yours sincerely                                       

Beth Cochrane           Judy Snodgrass

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