THERE is good reason to believe that the new bursaries for home economics teaching will prove to be an attractive offer for career-changers.

The generous financial aid is hugely important, but the changing nature of the subject is also bound to gain the interest of many who might never have thought about it before. No longer just about baking and sewing for girls, no longer even just “home economics”, it’s becoming a discipline that encompasses nutrition, health, food science, consumer strategies and different forms of cooking to get the best out of popular meals.

As such, the teaching of home economics is set to play a major role in Scotland’s battle against obesity. It’s a subject that now merits a part at the heart of the curriculum, rather than languishing on the fringes or not being taught at all.

At a time when young people need helpful guidance about healthy eating, the last thing we need is a shortage of home economics teachers. But that’s what we’ve had for too long. It’s estimated that almost one-quarter of children in Scotland are starting school at risk of being overweight or obese, making this a problem that needs tackling urgently.

The Scottish Government, therefore, is to be congratulated for this forward-looking, practical and imaginative initiative. Backed by health experts, who draw attention to widespread ignorance about food, and to the need for young people to be canny about consumerist messages, these bursaries should attract the sort of individual who wants to make a difference.

In the age of the celebrity chef, that will surely include men as well as women, anyone indeed who values the wellbeing of our young people and wants to guide them through the confusing claims of our consumer society. Apart from all of which, we hope that, in the process, young people can learn the joys of cooking. We look forward to tasting the fruits of their labours.