Home Economics School Opens Doors to Younger Generation Skip to content

Home Economics School Opens Doors to Younger Generation

By Ragnar Tómas

Housekeeping School of Reykjavík.
Photo: Golli.

For the first time this spring, the School of Home Economics in Reykjavík expanded its offerings to include courses for younger students, ages 10 to 16. These courses cover practical skills such as crocheting, cooking, baking, laundry, and cleaning, marking a significant evolution in the school’s traditional curriculum.

A curious resurgence

The School of Home Economics has enjoyed something of a resurgence over the past few years, owing, perhaps, in part, to a popular TV series (Húsó), which is set in the school and premiered on the National Broadcaster earlier this year.

In the past, courses within the school were only available to individuals aged sixteen and older. Recently, however, the school’s administrators announced plans to offer children and teenager courses for the first time this spring. Courses have now begun for students in two different age groups (10-13 years and 13-16 years). In these courses, students learn various skills, such as the basic principles of crocheting, cooking, baking, laundry, and cleaning.

In an interview with RÚV, María Marta Arnarsdóttir – who took over as principal in 2022 – was quoted as saying that the enrollment in the courses had exceeded all expectations, with two courses expanding to four. RÚV asked one young student why he had decided to enrol in courses at the school: “To learn how to bake, to take care of my home, and to help my mother vacuum, among other things.”

Significant improvement in women’s education

The School of Home Economics in Reykjavik (Hússtjórnarskólinn) was founded in 1942. During the time, home economics schools marked a significant improvement in schooling for women and girls, who’d formerly had no access to higher education after learning the basics of reading and writing.

In an interview with Iceland Review a few years ago, former principal Margrét Dóróthea Sigfúsdóttir briefly outlined the school’s history: “The first women’s schools around the country had two-year programmes where women would learn not only everything to do with the home but also subjects similar to what you would find in secondary schools: English, Danish, maths, and so on. These schools greatly increased women’s possibilities of getting an education.”

A feature article on the TV series Húsó will appear in the upcoming issue of Iceland Review.

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