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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 09:48 GMT
Girls 'lack basic life skills'
Girls cannot cook, manage cash or communicate
Nearly half of all schoolgirls do not possess the necessary life skills to survive in the modern world, according to a survey.

The research, commissioned by the Guide Association, revealed that basic skills such as money management, simple cookery and even conversation were lacking in girls aged between eight and 15.

The report found that 40% of the girls questioned had never even boiled an egg.

In the past, such skills were traditionally taught either at school or in the home.

But new curriculum guidelines and more mothers going out to work has meant less emphasis has been placed on basic life skills.

Redressing the balance

The Guide Association will use the results from its research to develop and modify the activity programmes it organises for the benefit of young girls.

Conducted over two months involving more than 400 girls the main findings showed that:

  • 40% of girls have never boiled an egg
  • Nearly 50% of girls never learn about budgeting at home
  • Nearly 50% never learn about saving or spending money at school
  • And less than 2% of girls save any of their pocket money.

The survey also found that:

  • 20% of girls never have a conversation with their family
  • 10% have never written a letter.

Finally, it was also revealed that only 20% have any cooking responsibilities at home.

Caroline Waldegrave, principal of Leith's School of Food and Wine in London, said she thought a "practical skills" course at school could redress the balance.

"I would teach people simple things like jointing a chicken, filleting fish and making pastry," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Future generation

"If you have practical skills, you are going to save yourself a lot of money and give yourself an immense amount of pleasure."

Feminist writer Yvonne Roberts said cookery had no place in school and life lessons like those highlighted by the Guides' report could be learned "in the home".

The Guide Association aims to redress the balance and is looking for more leaders who will be able to pass on these basic life skills to the future generation.

Denise King, chief executive of the Guide Association, said: "Many of these skills are very important in enabling young girls to go on and lead independent lives."

For more information on becoming a guide leader call 0800 169 5901.

The BBC's Denise King
"The Guide Association say many girls don't know how to perform the most basic tasks"
Feminist writer, Yvonne Roberts
"It is not a science"
See also:

24 May 99 | Education
Life skills top pupils' wish-list
11 Nov 01 | Features
Pupils learning skills not subjects
22 Sep 98 | Education
Classes in citizenship
01 Jul 99 | England and Wales
Curriculum and testing
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