The question, 'Home Economics: where to?' was posed. A survey of the
history of the development of Home Economics as a discipline - in the
USA as well as at the University of Pretoria - was given as the first
step towards providing an answer to this question. The second step
comprised an analysis of the definition of Home Economics as a field of
study. This analysis stated that Home Economics was the study of man as
a total being, of his environment, and of his relation to his environment.
It was pointed out that there were certain factors in South African society
that have a direct influence on the interpretation of Home Economics
as a discipline that satisfies needs and solves problems. These factors
included population increase and its financial implications to all
groups in South Africa; urbanisation; women in the labour force; and
the increased tempo of change.
The answer to the question, 'Home Economics: where to?' was presented
in terms of certain goals that the Department of Home Economics
had set itself. These goals included an increased emphasis on three aspects:
awareness of the needs of all the different groups in South African
society; constant research; and active teaching. The aim would always
remain to gain a better understanding of the needs and problems
of societies and families. In addition, it was emphasised that Home Economics
should become closer aligned to the field of Social Science in
order to justify the definition of Home Economics at this University as a
discipline that studies man as a total being, his environment, and his
relation to his environment in his attempts to fulfil his or her family's needs for clothing, food, housing and home-making.