Home Economics is now a compulsory prevocational subjects taught at the Junior Secondary Education level in Nigeria educational system and also a course of study in some higher institutions in the country. The study of home economics can pave way for occupational skills are best understood as competency on resourceful skills capable of steering an individual to be self-reliant, independent and productive in meeting lives challenges. Descriptive research method was used and secondary data were used in the discussion and analysis. The study made useful policy recommendations which government and entrepreneurs will find beneficial if faithfully employed.
1.1 Background to the Study
Historically, Home Economics as a course in the Nigerian educational system was dated as far back as 1840s. Domestic science was taught in mission and government schools to girls and women, with a lot of improvisation for the teaching of the subject. Today the course is regarded as a very important subject, unique and broad based. Home Economics according to Okaru, (1994) is one of the subjects provided for the National Policy on Education. It is categorized as a vocational subject, requiring both theoretical and practical lessons. At the senior secondary school level, Home Economics is one of the areas in which students are examined. The entire curriculum is separated into three units which are treated as distinct and alternatives, such that students are required to take just one aspect. The distinct areas are food and nutrition, clothing and textiles and home management. A student who has benefited from this course is expected to acquire enough skills and knowledge that would stimulate his interest in further studies in home economics as well as enable him put into practice, at home and in industry, the ideas so acquired (Olushola 1992).
Consequently, there is increased support of world and international agencies like UNICEF, UNESCO, FAO, WHO, CESAC, Federal ministries of Agriculture and Education. They organize and finance conferences, training in Home Economics and related fields. They also support researches in the area. Today their activities have made the national planners and Nigerian citizens realize the importance of Home Economics for family living and national development, (Nwaiwu, 1988). The development of any nation hinges on the social and economic contributions of her citizens. All features of sustainable development are deprived by poverty abject poverty, wide spread hunger and illiteracy is the main problems which the Nigerian governments past and present has not been able to address. Various programmes were initiated and implemented by the governments, billions of Naira was spent on these programmes, yet Nigerians have been increasingly living in a sorry situation of poverty hunger and illiteracy.
Home economics is a vocational subject that passes knowledge and skills from the grass root home/family. Molokwu (2007) postulated that the knowledge and skills which Homes Economics provides can be taught in school, formally organised or even in a non-formal settings and skills, individuals involves in these skills acquisition can become self-reliant or employers of labour. Therefore sustainable human development can be achieved through home economics. The career opportunities available in home economics are: teaching, textile design, fashion design, dietetic, nursery day-care management, food and beverage production and different kinds of services.
Households and the individuals living in the society are the main focus of Home economics .Education and knowledge in Home economics empowers individuals to fulfil their fundamental needs and to manage everyday life scarce resources. Education in home economics skills, like resource management and household finances in combination with psychosocial stabilization of the family leads to productive and regeneration capacity of the otherwise poverty disenfranchised individual. The well-being and the regeneration of the private home is a basic social goal for a full use of one’s potential for education and paid work. Home economics education provides knowledge in food production, poultry and animal rearing nutrition skills. Not only does Home economics education ensure self-sufficiency and self-reliance for the individual, families and communities but also serves as source income generation. By selling the excess food produced, animals reared, eggs and birds from poultry in the family setting from a sustainable income generation activity. Opportunity is opened for families and individuals. When the availability of food combined with nutritional and health skills then it leads to an adequate nutrition for the young ones and youth in the family which will make them physically fit and mentally sound to use educational opportunity at their disposal
In spite of the efforts of researcher in stating the values and the importance of Home Economics as a vital subject in secondary school and a course of study in higher institutions, for example, the works of Olaosebikan, Victoria (2002) on Mechanism for Motivating Students in Developing Interest in Learning Clothing and Textiles in Colleges of Education in North-Eastern States of Nigeria and that of Felicia Olufunke Ibhaze (2012) mainly focused on higher institutions and secondary schools respectively. There seems to be none that has worked on the effects of home economics on the business growth both locally and internationally using Taraku Soya Milk Manufacturing Company Nigeria Limited Benue State, Nigeria, as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
For donkey years now, education has remained the remedy for ignorance and its associating problems. Transformation is the agenda presently slotted in the present administration, which goes to show that every sector in the country should speed up its programmes to meet up with the trend. But this is not so for Home Economics Education because of the challenges the course/subject is facing. Home Economics Education is regarded as vocational and Technical Education and therefore the challenges this body of knowledge faces also affects Home Economics Education. There is a general poor attitude of students, both male and female towards vocational education these days as a whole and Home Economics in particular.
Even with the high population of female school age in the country they are still not attracted to vocational studies, Nsofor (2003). There is rather a preponderance of female students in the arts and social sciences, while the males prefer the medical and legal areas than the skilled area. Even where they offer Home Economics at the junior and or senior secondary schools’ examinations, there is always a tendency to drop them when they enter tertiary institutions for reasons that the course is expensive and time consuming.
This study is set to investigate the contributions of Home Economics on the business growth of Taraku Soya Milk Manufacturing Company Nigeria Limited Benue State. The scope and emphasis of Home Economics Education have shifted from ordinary home making to paid employment in various entrepreneual trade and business areas. This study will serve as an eye opener to the Nigerian youths and adults especially Women and Girls who constitute huge population for the government to incorporate this type of course in its poverty alleviation programmes.
1.3 Research Questions
These are some of the questions the study is designed to answer:
i) what are the prevailing factors that are responsible for the business growth of Taraku Soya Milk Manufacturing Company Nigeria Limited?
ii) what are the effects of home economics on the business growth of Taraku Soya Milk Manufacturing Company Nigeria Limited?
iii) what are the attitudes of students towards learning home economics in school?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objective of this study was to find the effects of Home Economics on the business growth of Taraku Soya Milk Manufacturing Company Nigeria Limited Benue State. The specific objectives were:
i) to ascertain the prevailing factors that are responsible for the business growth of Taraku Soya Milk Manufacturing Company Nigeria Limited
ii) to establish the effects of home economics on the business growth of Taraku Soya Milk Manufacturing Company Nigeria Limited
iii) to investigate the attitudes of students towards learning home economics in school
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will be beneficial to the students, teachers, educational administrators and supervisors of Home economics education in both secondary and tertiary schools. The outcome of this study will assist the teachers in the selection of skills and the areas of interest of students in home economics. To the educational administrators and planners, findings from the study will provide them with priority areas for the purpose of funding and supervision. It is also hoped that findings from this study will highlight the roles of home economics in the economic development of the country. The findings therefore will equip the guidance counsellor/teacher with appropriate guidance and counselling approaches that will help to motivate and increase students' interest in skills and vocational development.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study investigated the effects of home economics on the business growth of Taraku Soya Milk Manufacturing Company Nigeria Limited Benue State and therefore covered the staff the organization. The variables of interest however were: home economics (independent variables) ad business growth (dependent variable).
1.7 Limitation of the study
The only constraint encountered by the researcher was finance. This limited the researcher to print just one hundred and twenty questionnaires as against the proposed two hundred and fifty questionnaires. The researcher, however, came up with findings that would be worth making reference to in future and also contribute to the existing literature.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Business growth: the process of improving some measure of an enterprise's success. Business growth can be achieved either by boosting the top line or revenue of the business with greater product sales or service income, or by increasing the bottom line or profitability of the operation by minimizing costs.
Home economics: field of study that deals with the economics and management of the home and community.It deals with the relationship between individuals, families, communities, and the environment in which they live.
Molokuwu, N. (2007) Home economics in response to changes in Contemporary society and human needs for sustainability. Paper presented At 3rd IFHE Africa regional conference.
Nsofor, C.C. (2003) Vocational and Technical Education: A tool for self-reliance and sustainable democracy in the 21st Century, Kontagora.
Okaru, V. (1994). The history of home economics in Nigeria and its application to urban and rural development programme. A paper presented at the National Home Economics Workshop for Teachers, Lagos.
Olushola, I. (1992). Implementation of the national policy on education in post primary school in Ondo State. Awkwa: Educational Policy and Implementation in Nigeria.
Nwaiwu, M. (1988). A Handbook for the Teaching of Home Economics Assumption Press, Owerri.