More students pursuing programmes at Carnegie School of Home Economics
Guyana Chronicle
January 20, 2002

APPLICATIONS to pursue programmes at the Carnegie School of Home Economics have been progressively increasing with the mushrooming of tourist resorts, coupled with the more diversified studies offered at the institution.

Principal of the School, Ms. Roxanne Benjamin Hoppie, told the Chronicle that recently, the programmes have become more diversified and more in consonance with the local tourism/hospitality and garment industries, which are constantly developing and expanding.

She said that for the past two years, the institution has been offering full-time programmes in Garment Construction and Hair Dressing/Cosmetology, in addition to the traditional courses in Catering and Home Management. She said that through Canadian funding, its staff will receive training on how to access the garment markets in the US and Canada.

Only a small portion of those seeking training in the specialised areas offered by the school, is accepted, however, because of the limited accommodation and facilities at the Durban and High Streets location. Annual enrollment for Catering is 60, while the figure for Household Management is 120. Household Management students are trained in two batches of 60.

Students who attend the institution come from all the administrative Regions, but the bulk are from Georgetown and its environs, which is understandable because of the logistical problems, Ms. Hoppie explained, and added that 12 scholarships are reserved annually for hinterland students. In addition, about 1,000 students per year attend evening classes.

According to Ms. Hoppie, the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) and a Caribbean resource organisation has been collaborating with the school. THAG has suggested that to deal with the school’s accommodation problem, an annexe could be constructed at another location because further expansion cannot be done on the building. So far, nothing tangible has been achieved in that area, but Ms. Hoppie is optimistic that eventually, progress will be made.

There is a dire need for new equipment at Carnegie, but the Principal said because of limited finances they have to continue with out-grown facilities. She is hoping that in this years budget, additional finance would be made available to the institution.

Another difficulty currently facing the school is a staff shortage. Ms. Hoppie said that for the first time in a long time there has been a heavy staff turn-over. Asked if remuneration could be the reason, she replied in the negative, explaining that the job at Carnegie is flexible allowing staff to do private work in their spare time, thus enabling them to earn additional income.

The Canadian Executive Services Organisation (CESO) is providing some assistance to cope with the staff shortage by training tutors, the Principal explained.

The Carnegie School of Home Economics, formerly Carnegie Trade School, was founded in 1933 from grants donated by the Carnegie Trustees and the UK funds for the relief of unemployment. Its first Principal was Ms. Bernice Briant.

She was entrusted with the establishment of the school, with the undertaking that Government would assume full responsibility if the venture succeeded. Her careful management and dedication to the task resulted in the Government assuming responsibility in 1937.

During this period of time, a trading section was developed, producing custom-made ladies garments and uniforms for Government messengers, while large scale catering was undertaken on request.

In September 1958, the trading aspect was discontinued and the school was renamed the Carnegie School of Home Economics. The curriculum was then restructured to provide students with an opportunity to learn all the skills and attitudes which are essential for good home management and community life.

A separate catering section was established in 1971 to provide specialised training in Food Preparation and Service. Consequently, the public was afforded economical and attractive meals of a high standard in a pleasant atmosphere.

From 1988 to 1990, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided technical assistance to enhance the Catering Programme.

One of Carnegies major successes over the years has been its publication of `Whats Cooking in Guyana, which has a host of recipes, all indigenously developed. But the book is much more than a straightforward compilation of recipes. It deals with nutritional subjects including what constitutes a balanced diet, nutritional need of infants, toddlers, adolescents and pregnant and lactating mothers, among others.

Ms. Hoppie told the Chronicle that the response to the book has been so overwhelming that its publisher, Macmillan, has approached the institution to have a fifth edition published.

Ms. Hoppie, who hails from Berbice, says that she got into the Home Economics field by accident. She related that she had applied to major in History at the Cyril Potter College of Education. To her surprise, she was accepted, but to do Home Economics!

“That is where it all started, and since then, I have not looked back,” she said.

Ms. Hoppie has been at Carnegie from 1985 with a brief break during 1989-1990 when she worked in Linden. She was appointed Principal in 1996.

Asked why she stuck it out here, she simply replied, “I love my country. (Chamanlall Naipaul)