Ⅰ. Founding of Korean Home Economics Association
Academic roots of Home Economics were implemented in Korea at the end of the 19th century, especially for women's education from informal home schooling to formal education in school systems. Since then for over 60 years Home Economics Education was emphasized for girls. Many home economists agreed to organize an Association for Home Economics to share results of academic research, to promote quality of life, and to publish appropriate Home Economics textbooks for middle, high school and college levels. With these purposes, a handful home economists who were ecological minded got together and organized an Association to improve the quality of life in Korea. In 1947, the Korean Home Economics Association (KHEA) was founded at Sung Shin High School and the first President and Executive Committee members of KHEA were elected.
Ⅱ. Objectives of Korean Home Economics
The ultimate objective of Home Economics is to maximize individual and family satisfaction and welfare by enhancing the understanding and knowledge of humans and their physical and social environments. In the past, the focus of Home Economics was limited to the surrounding human and physical elements. However, at the present time, professors recognize the necessity of studying the influence of physical elements on families and the interrelationships between family members. To be concrete, by considering family welfare from micro and macro perspectives, the objectives of Home Economics in Korea are listed below.
To improve the conditions contributing to man's psychological, social, and physical development
To improve the conditions contributing to man's physiological health and development
To improve the physical components of man's immediate environment
To improve consumer competence and family resource use
To improve the quality and availability of community services which enrich family life.
In the early period of Home Economics, the first three objectives were major ones, but in the 1970s and the 1980s, the fourth objective was positively pursued. Since 1990, the last objective has been sought after.
To improve the quality of life of the individual, effort in the public dimension as well as in the private one is necessary. In contrast to passive acceptance and adjustment for a socio-systematic change from the past, Korean Home Economics has tried to embody the objectives of family welfare at the macro level by raising the standards in the practice of Home Economics. The concrete goals are presented as follows:
- To strengthen the organization of the field of Home Economics and to facilitate public recognition of Home Economics
- To reorganize and revise the curriculum to meet social needs
- To participate positively in the legislation or legal structures to contribute to the enhancement of family welfare
- To have a social extension service through life long education in communities.
Ⅲ. Outstanding Contributions to Society
Home Economics contributes to society by providing education to its students, employment to its graduates, further academic studies to its professionals and social services to the community at large. From right after liberation from Japanese reign in 1945 to the 1950s, Home Economics promoted education, information dissemination and research under the slogan of rationalization of living to lead a scientific and economical family life.
In this period home economists contributed by promoting a scientific and economical family life required by the post-war generation. As a way of rationalizing living, measuring instruments were made and distributed and life-planning by precise measurement and methods of effective consumption were explained. In addition, democratization of family living was actively advocated.
In the 1960s Home Economics played a leading role in enlightening the rural community. By participating in meetings to educate farmers, discussions were held to further their education. In addition, through the "Exhibition of Creativity Development" and a standardization of recipes for meal service, Home Economics had a close relationship with rural communities. By utilizing research findings, Home Economics professionals were in charge of educating rural women.
In the 1970s scholars of all areas of Home Economics were engaged in the national task of family planning. In 1973 and 1974, symposiums on Home Economics and Education on Family Planning were held by the KHEA. In 1975, a family planning study meeting for improvement of rural life was held by the Department of Agricultural Home Economics in the Agricultural College at Seoul National University to teach family planning to leaders and housewives in rural communities. Following this, in 1978, a "Home Science Education Workshop" was held by the College of Home Economics at Yonsei University. The program with lectures, demonstrations and practice for the area of Clothing, Food and Nutrition, Housing, and Child Studies was held for village extension leaders. Thus, Home Economics played a leading role in teaching family planning and improving the quality of life in rural communities.
Since 1980, to solve the employment problems of the graduates, home economists took an interest in providing information on Home Economics and connecting it to various social classes, thus overcoming the passive attitude about cooperation between industries and universities. Each Home Economics College was committed to research projects sponsored by companies or the government through the activity of the Research Institute of Human Ecology attached to the College of Home Economics. In addition to this, since the latter half of the 1980s, journals and broadcasting media have presented issues concerning women and home life independently. Home Economics research theses have also been made available to the public.
In the 1990s a professor of Home Economics was appointed a Minister of Education and a Home Economics scholar participated in the Department of Social Welfare of the 21st Century Committee. Also, a home economist was elected as chairperson of the Feminine Studies Conference and had a chance to be involved in making several social policies. In 1994, the Korean Home Economics Association conference announced a joint declaration of the International Year of the Family designated by the United Nations in cooperation with other family-related associations and suggested a desirable policy for family welfare.
Ⅳ. The Future of Home Economics in Korea
The role and importance of Home Economics will not decrease in the future; rather, it will increase. The more alienated and mechanized humans become as rapid industrialization prompted in Korea, the more society will demand a restoration of humanity and the establishment of family ethics. Home Economics has the most professional knowledge to find the ways to realize human values. Home Economics is often said to be a "future-oriented discipline" because it has the flexibility to meet change and to restructure knowledge without being satisfied with maintaining the present level. However, in order to develop further, Home Economics should establish a model or a theory suitable for Korean society, broaden its old views and outlooks, and reinforce a system for social service. Like a person, Home Economics should keep and develop its territory. It should also compete and cooperate with other scientific field