Q. What was CHE?
The College of Home Economics, Lahore, was a joint effort of the Government of Pakistan, The Ford Foundation, and the Oklahoma A&M College Division of Home Economics. The foundation of the discipline was laid by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt during her visit to Pakistan in 1952 (http://archivespaces.library.okstate.edu:8081/repositories/3/resources/173)
It was the first skill-based, inter-disciplinary education system centered on empowering women in Pakistan. The College was officially opened in 1955 and has been affiliated with the University of Punjab since its establishment.
Home Economics is a field of study and a profession, situated in the human sciences that draw from a range of disciplines to achieve optimal and sustainable living for individuals, families, and communities.
Govt. College of Home Economics, Gulberg, Lahore was a Post Graduate College, offering a BS Home Economics program with five major specializations namely, Food and Nutrition, Textiles and Clothing, Related Arts, Child Development, and Home Management. The supporting subjects from natural and social sciences make the discipline of Home Economics an interdisciplinary and most modern field of study.
The college has produced thousands of BS, hundreds of M.Phils, and numerous Ph.D. professionals. These home economists are renowned entrepreneurs (Bareeze, Bahbood, Roots International, American Lycetuff are just a few examples), bureaucrats, politicians, nutritionists, educationists, and counselors for the country, who have excelled professionally and impacted society in a multitude of ways.
Q. How the decision of converting Govt. College of home Economics effected its programs?
2017 act adversely effected the college with all the programs, infrastructure, and academic staff.
Govt. College of home Economics has been converted into a general university with FIVE GENERAL FACULTIES and 25 DEPARTMENTS,
Home Economics has been FULLY IGNORED BY BEING REDUCED FROM A COLLEGE TO A DEPARTMENT IN THE FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT SCIENCES (Vide notification No: 2112, and 2113 dated 13-4-2).
The first two years of Home Economics (Intermediate in-Home Economics) were discontinued as they were not part of university education. Specializations were scattered under different faculties and the whole structure was ruthlessly distorted.
Enrolment in BS Home Economics program reduced from 400 STUDENTS PER YEAR TO JUST 40 students, which means there will be just one specialization to be offered as it is not possible to make sections for 5 specializations with just 40 students. So, this program will gradually end.
Merit has deteriorated a lot as the fee per annum increased from Rs 16000 TO RS 85000 IN 2020 AND RS 95000 IN 2021.
We had brilliant students from low- and middle-income families who now don’t afford to study in this institution. Like any other private institution, only those who can pay can come which has deteriorated the academic standard.
Q. Why was no voice raised at the time of graduation?
At the time of upgradation, there were three important scenarios:
1. Only the principal and a few senior faculty knew what was happening. They were told by the government of that time that by changing the status of the college they will get funds, which can help in building labs, and increasing library and research facilities.
Faculty will be upgraded and will get one scale higher, the fee structure will only be increased slightly
2. There was a group of 7 to 8 teachers who realized that this will not be going to be true, and they went to the secretariat and tried to resist that, but they did not listen, and it was generally assumed that as they were not with 3. 95% of the faculty never knew what was happening, it was kept confidential
Q. What role do faculty play in the formative years?
The faculty tried to explain to the VC who was from the faculty of Library Sciences that if this university has come into being we need to primarily focus on the expansion of Home Economics. All departments gave presentations in which they showed how this discipline can be expanded. However, as VC Sahiba had one point agenda which was to convert it into a general university, she did not agree with the suggestions. the department heads were not heard, they were humiliated and told that their discipline has no value in the market.
As there was no faculty other than the home economists, they were pushed to develop programs and they did that and put their maximum effort, but madam removed the term Home Economics from the nomenclature of all degrees and distorted the shape of the developed programs. As there is no global president of home economics university, she was not ready to take any risk.
The faculty was told they were on deputation and if they will speak about home economics or against what is being done in the university they will be immediately repatriated. as there were no seats in Lahore, they were scared and after a lot of confrontation, they became quiet. whoever finds a seat anywhere in Lahore gets herself transferred. Out of about 70 to 80 home economics faculty members who were in the college of home economics, now less than 20 are there and they are also looking for seats in Lahore.
These faculty members were PHDs, or MSCs with 25 to 30 years of teaching experience in specialized fields of Home Economics, now in the colleges, they got seats doesn’don’ttheir subject so they will just get the pay and they will teach any other thing but their specialty- what a waste of human resource!
Q. Importance of Home Economics.
Home Economics is a field of study and a profession, situated in the human sciences that draws draw a range of disciplines to achieve optimal and sustainable living for individuals, families, and communities.
Govt. College of Home Economics, Gulberg, Lahore is a purpose-built campus of approximately 134 kanals. It was offering a BS Home e Economics program with five major specializations namely Food and Nutrition, Textiles and Clothing, Related Arts, Child Development, and Home Management. The supporting subjects from natural and social sciences make the discipline of Home Economics an interdisciplinary and most modern field of study. The nursery school as a laboratory provides a learning opportunity for students to work with small children which do exist in any other college. Center for children with special needs is another unique set setup college. Home Management Residence houses experience of living together and management of resources which is an opportunity only provided at Home Economics.
Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics in collaboration with IOWA state university has produced many clinical dietitians and practicing nutritionists. MOU for an international faculty exchange program was signed with IOWA State University for curriculum development and teacher training in all areas of Home Economics. The College developed academic linkages with Textbook Board, TEVTA, CCRC (UNICEF) and Cardiff University -UK.
The M.Phil leading to PhD Program has launched at the campus.D.f College of Home Economics in 2008 after completing all the academic and administrative parameters of HEC Pakistan. These programs were approved as MPhil and PhD separate programs in 2009 and ran successfully till 2017. This Program produced approximately 200 plus MPhil graduates and 12 PhDs, whereas 30 PhD and many MPhil students are in the completion process. Research work and publications done by the students has benefited the community immensely.
This College was the only College of Home Economics in entire Punjab with quota system till 2017. Pakistan Statistical Yearbook 2018-Pakistan Bureau of Statistics has acknowledged Home Economics as a professional discipline.
Status of this discipline globally
Home Economics is currently enjoying renewed attention because of its imperative of improving the world in which we live such that sustainable development is possible.
Several interconnected societal factors such as sustainability, global consumption, health and social justice are NOW aligning around this profession. Internationally Home Economics is being taught in US (in more than 250 universities), UK and many other countries of Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, India, Kenya. its global revival and importance can be seen in the following research studies and the latest activities can be seen on the official website of International federation of Home Economics.
Q. What has been done till now?
Letters to all relevant political figures including PM, Minister for higher education, Speaker assembly, Law minister, MNA’s and MPA’s, Governor Sahab, Military Secretary to PM
Meetings with these political leaders and with the secretaries in the higher education departments
Alumnae interviews on TV and social media, Columns in the newspapers
Protest outside the press club
Initiating AFOHE and gathering all home economists under one roof
Webinars to gain the support of Home Economics colleges in other provinces
Business excellence awards to demonstrate the importance of Home Economics
Q. Now what sort of support do you want from the Gov?
It is requested on behalf of students, faculty, and alumnae, of Home Economics from all over Pakistan that the Govt. College of Home Economics, Gulberg be restored and given a separate status of a niche college, and as a center of excellence for Home Economics Education.
Q. If your purpose is going to be discouraged what’s the impact on students or the upcoming generation?
Home Economics is currently enjoying renewed attention in the developed countries including US, Australia, Japan, Finland, and Europe, because of its imperative of improving the world in which we live such that sustainable development is possible.
If Govt. College of Home Economics, will not be restored the discipline of home Economics in Pakistan will gradually wither and die. Enrolment in BS Home Economics program has already reduced from 400 students per year to just 38 students and fee per annum has increased from Rs 16000 to Rs 85000 in 2020 and Rs 95000 in 2021.
Q. Do you think the role of home economics college plays a vital role in women empowerment?
College of Home Economics was providing low-cost education to middle school girls. Basic philosophy of H Eco involves around the role of women in the management of basic needs of individuals, families, and communities. There is a holistic approach to teach the management of needs of food, clothing, shelter human relations, mental wellbeing, and aesthetics which are interrelated. Empowering students by becoming aware of and learning basic skills of critical thinking is the main objective. The students are better equipped to manage their own lives and their families. The students learned skills in their labs and use to get hands on experiences. They had the opportunity to experience in all the 5 fields (Food and Nutrition, Textiles and Clothing, Related Arts, Child Development, and Home Management), they could select and excel in the field in which they had the aptitude. Hundreds of girls graduated from this college are doing home businesses related to foods, textiles, crafts, furniture, jewelry, etc to name a few, as they can’t go out to work due to family concerns. No other discipline has produced so many women entrepreneurs working in such varied fields.
The specialization in the selected field of their choice makes them a better professional due to the broad-based earlier education in home economics. Depriving future generations of women of this broad-based professional education will be a tragedy. As building such institutions of higher education for women will not be possible.
The college has produced renowned researchers, academicians, politicians, entrepreneurs, nutritionists, dieticians, food experts, designers, floral experts, businesswomen, school administrators, counselors for the country (Bareeze, Bahbood, Roots International, American Lycetuff are just a few examples), all of whom have excelled professionally and impacted society in a multitude of ways.