Cookery lessons to be compulsory

The government is making cookery lessons compulsory in schools:

Cookery lessons are to be compulsory in England’s secondary schools for children aged 11 to 14.

Pupils will learn to cook for an hour a week for one term. Poorer pupils’ ingredients will be subsidised. Cookery is a ministerial “expectation” but, as an optional part of the design and technology curriculum, is not currently taught in all schools.

Look, I’ve got nothing against people learning cookery if that’s what they want to do — in fact I’m rather in favour — but why is this government so obsessed with compulsion? Instead, let’s give kids a choice of what they want to learn in schools. Core subjects such as Maths shouldn’t be optional, but many subjects should be. This would help learning because people learn better if they are doing something they are interested in, rather than if they are forced to do something they feel is boring and irrelevant.

The government is keen to reduce obesity and improve the nation’s cookery skills. But why do they assume that people are so stupid and apathetic that they won’t learn something unless they are both compelled to learn and spoonfed the knowledge? Recently I wanted to make toffee popcorn. I’d never made toffee popcorn before (nor indeed made toffee) so I looked up a recipe on the internet, a process that took me all of 30 seconds. C’mon people, this is not rocket science!

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