SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION IN
Social work education in India, in the true sense of the term, dates back to 1936 when
Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work (now Tata Institute of Social Sciences)was established in Mumbai under the leadership of Dr. Clifford Manshardt of the American Marathi Mission, with a view to preparing trained manpower adequately equipped with the knowledge and skills required for shouldering varied kinds of responsibilities in the field of social welfare. Obviously, the School was based on the pattern of Schools of School Work in the United States of America, but, at the same time, it had had certain distinctive characteristic features, especially in respect of social work intervention in industrial organisations, directed towards improving the appalling conditions of workers in urban industrial centers. The school sponsored a series of lectures on ‘Some Social Services of the Government of Bombay’, as a result of which major areas of governmental responsibilities in the field of social services could be finalized; and this led to a noticeable change in the functions of the State, which accepted that the promotion of welfare was its prime concern.
It is noteworthy here that, as claimed by the University Grants Commission (Social
Work Education in Indian Universities, 1965), the first short-term course of social
work was organised by Social Service League in Bombay in 1920. It was a short term
course designed for voluntary workers engaged in public welfare work. However, as
stated in the very beginning, the first training in professional social work in the real
sense of the term starts from 1936 with the establishment of Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate
School of Social Work in Mumbai, which continued to be the only institution providing social work education until Independence.
After Independence, Kashi Vidyapith (now Mahatma Gandhi Kashi University), Varanasiand the College of Social Service, Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, started imparting social work education in 1947 itself. In 1948, the North Young Women’s Christian Association of India started Delhi School of Social Work with financial assistance from the foreign Division of the American Young Women’s Christian Association; and this School of Social Work was given affiliation by the University of Delhi in 1961. The M.S. University, Baroda started the teaching of social work as part of university systemin 1949. Likewise, Lucknow University started a Diploma in Social Service under the aegis of J.K. Institute of Sociology and Human Relations, which later on was replaced by a two-year course of Master of Social Technique (MST) and finally, Master of Social Work (MSW) in 1954 when Madras School of Social Work was established. After this, a number of Schools/Departments of Social Work came into existence indifferent parts of the country. In the early stages of social work education, curricula were usually made up of three areas of knowledge; “(i) knowledge drawn from the social services including the knowledge of social research methods, (ii) knowledge of social work methods including social service administration, and (iii) specialized knowledge relating to individual fields of social work”. (Gore, 1968: 256-57)
Besides,social work education also involved field instructions and even research methodology,which enabled the students to understand the real nature of social work problems in the country and to know about the methods and techniques of conducting social investigation. It is noteworthy here that the then social work education was specialisation oriented. The pressure for offering specialisation oriented social work education was created by multiplicity of factors, namely: “(i) the difficulty of building curriculum in which all the fields (could) be adequately covered, (ii) the subtle academic rivalry between teachers of different subjects whose status upon developing specialty and (iii) the demand for personnel with specialised training on the part of employers in a few of the fields”.(Gore 1968:258) It is noteworthy here that in 1948, the Factories Act was enacted in which specific provision was made under section 49 for the appointment of labour welfare officers whose qualifications were also laid down under the relevant rules, which incorporated, inter alia, Master’s degree in Social Work with specialisation in labour welfare and industrial relations as the minimum qualification for appointment to this post. Though specialisation oriented social work has continued to exist mainly because of availability of employment opportunities in diverse fields, yet it has been a subject of debate throughout, leading to division among social work educators, which became so sharp that there was voting among social work educators who were participating in Udaipur Seminar in February 1982, and the overwhelming majority decision was that specialisation would continue as a part of social work curriculum.
With the adoption of Constitution of India in 1950 the concept of Welfare State was
accepted as part and parcel of its Directive Principles of State Policy. The Constitution
abolished untouchability and also guaranteed special protection to children, women,
scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections. Article 38 of the
Constitution specifically adumbrated: “The States shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting, as effectively as it may, a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life”. In order to fulfill the constitutional guarantee promoting people’s welfare, the subject of social welfare was included in the First Five Year Plan; and the Central Social Welfare Board was created in 1953 with a view to promoting and strengthening the voluntary efforts in the field of social welfare. All the development plans and programmes, separately and jointly, gave rise to the demand for properly trained manpower, competent enough to effectively handle the duties and responsibilities of different positions, which happened to be created in diverse fields of social welfare, including Community Development, National Extension Service, Family Planning (now Family Welfare Planning). Following the well-established principles of ‘supply and demand’, the number of institutions
providing social work education also went on increasing.
The year 1991 is a watershed in the history of Independent India because it was in this
year that the Government of India decided to adopt the Structural Adjustment Programme and to follow the policy of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, which led to gradual withdrawal of the State from the field of social welfare development and greater involvement of non-governmental organisations and the corporate sector in the field of promotion of people’s well-being. It must be pointed out here that even before 1991, the Indian nation state has been making incessant efforts to promote people’s participation, particularly, in those programmes, which have been directly concerned with the promotion of their own well-being; and rightly so because our country is democratic and the essence of democracy lies in people’s participation. But the country has undoubtedly taken an about turn in 1991, leaving the burden of promotion of people’s well-being on the NGOs and the corporate sector which in majority of cases, unfortunately, have belied the hopes from them because of their prime concern of fulfillment of their own vested interests of wide variety. In the wake of the creation of a very wide scope for the operation of NGOs, the corporate sector, etc as a part of the private sector in the field of social welfare, there has been a mushroom growth in the7 number of Schools of Social Work in the country whose number has now risen to 136.
Most of these schools are centered in the three states of Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and
Karnataka; and unfortunately, only a few of them exist in the North and East, clearly
showing the skewed nature of territorial distribution of Schools of Social Work in the country. Unfortunately again, many of these schools do not fulfill even the minimum requirements in terms of qualified teachers and other required infrastructure. Naturally, the quality of social work education, which is being provided by these schools, is quite low as a result of which their products are not in a position to prove their worth in terms of creating a mark by different impact on their employing organizations vis-à-vis personnel from other disciplines like Business Administration, Human Resource Management, Industrial Psychology, Industrial Sociology, Labour Laws and Personnel Management,etc. The Association of Social Work in India, which was established in 1959 with the object of establishing and enforcing minimum standards of social work education, has also not been able to perform the expected role due to a wide variety of reasons, such as, location of its office bearers in different parts of the country at long distances, nonrepresentation of its office bearers in policy making and plan formulation, non-registration
of the association till date because of certain blunders committed in the past and complex procedural requirements of registration, growing tendency among professional social workers to give greater importance to the fulfillment of their own personal interests and unpreparedness to make any kind of sacrifice even in the form of their participation in professional meets at their own expense, etc.
It is really both shocking and surprising that despite seven decades of its existence in
India, social work could not achieve a much coveted professional status; and the situation is so pitiable even today that most of those who matter in society, namely, politicians, bureaucrats and judges even do not know what social work is. In the institutions of higher education also, with the exception of those in which social work is being taught as a distinct discipline, social work is either not known to the scholars of other well established and reputed disciplines or it is rated to be low in terms of academic esteem; and for this, none else is to blame other than professional social workers themselves,particularly, those social work educators who have been sitting comfortably within the four walls of the schools/departments without making any significant contribution to bring about improvement in the condition of people living even in the areas in which they are located. Not only during normal times, but also during the disasters – natural as well as man-made, they have generally not been able to make their presence felt. This is high time when all social work educators must reflect upon and sincerely endeavor to find out the causes of their failures, learn necessary lessons from the past and carefully prepare for improving their image vis-à-vis other professionals who are held in highesteem by people in society.
Any profession, if it wants to develop, must prove its worth in the eyes of people,
particularly its users, in the society in which it operates; and for this, it must improve
the effectiveness of the services rendered by its professionals, particularly by equipping them with the latest developments in the field of knowledge in the concerned areas, methods and techniques, which can be instrumental in effectively applying knowledge in the service of the society it intends to cater to, and adopt a value framework, which is democratic and humanitarian, in consonance with constitutional commitments. It must be pointed out here that social work is different from other professions like medicine, engineering, law teaching, nursing, etc., which deal with the improvement of the overall quality of life of people, specially those who belong to the weaker and vulnerable sections of society. It takes a holistic view of the ‘person in environment’ and adopts a multifaceted approach to ensure that people optimally realise their potential,contribute their might towards effective functioning of the society and are able to lead a decent, dignified and free life. It, therefore, becomes obligatory for social work to collaborate with varied kinds of other professions also according to situational requirements, and in this teamwork, social workers are generally treated as second rate citizens because of their inability to demonstrate the results of their work tangibly.
In order to be effective, social work has to operate at the levels of both an individual as well as society. At the level of an individual, social work is obliged to promote the best possible realisation of potential, which people have, to assist them to engage themselves in some kind of meaningful and gainful work of their liking according to their capabilities and competencies, to facilitate effective social functioning as a responsible and responsive citizen of society and to ensure good quality of life. At the level of society, social work is enjoined upon to promote social change, to create a social structure free from exploitation and abuse, characterised by equality, justice, liberty and brotherhood. In developing societies, a section of population is the victim of five giants of want, idleness, ignorance, squalor and disease, as pointed out by William Beveridge way back in 1935, the social change function of social work becomes much more important as compared to provision of help at the individual level. Since 1991, there has been a major shift in our social policy, which as of today, is committed to liberalization, privatisation and globalisation, which, singly as well as
jointly, emphasise individual entrepreneurship, high cut-throat competition and private profit. Today, the Indian society is facing with a number of challenges like hunger due to extreme poverty (260.3 million people in 1999-2001), non-availability of potable water, shelterlessness, illiteracy (34.6.Cr), unemployment (26.6. million unemployed in 1990-2000), ill-health, increase in the causes of disability, environmental degradation, rise in varied kinds of ‘isms’ like communalism, casteism, regionalism, linguism, etc; cultural decay, rise in violence, widespread corruption, deterioration in peace, emergence of values of individualism, materialism, consumerism and hedonism, attachment of supremely important significance to money, increasing craze for leading luxurious life, much greater emphasis on rights than on duties, emergence of producer friendly market leading to the exploitation of consumers, many of whom are poor and ignorant, and so on.
Having been started by Dr. Clifford Manshardt of American Marathi Missions, social
work education in India has, right from the very beginning, followed the American
model in which the emphasis has been laid on changing the individual, not on changing the environment in which he/she is placed, on making greater use of Psychology than of Sociology, on solving the psycho-social problems faced by people and not on fullest realisation of human potentials, on promoting individualism and not on collectivism, on getting whatever is possible and not giving whatever is probable; and on living for one’s own self, if possible luxuriously, and not sacrificing personal life and liberty and other possessions for the sake of the promotion of societal well-being. The Western model of social work education, adopted lock, stock, and barrel in our country has, unfortunately, been against the very spirit of Indian culture, which has always laid utmost emphasis on multi willingness to undergo personal sacrifice of the highest level, that is of the life itself, for promoting the well-being of people, particularly of those who were in distress in the society. The Indian culture has prescribed Rinas, i.e., debts,which every person owes. There are three types of Rinas—Dev Rin, Rishi Rin and Pitri Rin. Dev Rin refers to the debt, which a person owes to food grain, water, air,fire, sky, etc. The debt, which a person, owes to those who have contributed to the development of knowledge useful in leading life effectively, is Rishi Rin. Pitri Rin denotes9 debt, which a person owes to his/her parents, who have produced and reared and made what the person is. Indian society has prescribed four-fold goals of human
life—(i) Dharma (ii) Artha (iii) Karma (iv) Moskha. The term Dharma is different
from and much wider than religion. It has been defined as a code of conduct, which,
if observed truthfully, provides protection and is instrumental in the promotion of both
human development and societal well-being. Dharma, in fact, is a prescribed duty,
which every Indian must follow. As long as people of different open classes, which in
course of time, were converted into closed castes, continued to perform the assigned
duties, every body was happy and peaceful, and there was not misery and social strife.
Dharma was the basis of all the other goals, namely prosperity, fulfillment of desires
and liberation from the cycle of the birth and rebirth.The three Rinas were also an integral part of Dharma. In this regard, Sir Monier Williamin ‘A Sanskrit-English Dictionary’ has written, “At birth man owes three debts or obligations, viz. (i) Brahmcharaya or study of Vedas to the Rishis; (ii) sacrifice and worship to the God, (iii) procreation of a son to the Manes”. The real purpose behind the concept of Rin (debt or obligation) was to create a sense of gratitude in human beings towards those who have produced and nurtured him, sustained him and enlightened him and oriented him towards the promotion of people’s well-being.
The concept of Yagna, which in Sanskrit means ‘going together for production’, also
denoted mutual help in the pre-Vedic communitarian society. In the words of Prof.
Raja Ram Shastri (1966:5), “ This mutual help function of this collective society was
termed yagna”. Pre-Vedic society was a communitarian society in which every body’s needs were catered to by everybody who used to help people in need in a collective manner. (Shastri 1966:4) The Indian society has always cherished the goal of ‘happiness of all’ and there have been innumerable great persons like-Dadhichi, Mordhwaj, Rantidev, Karna, etc. who have established high ideals of sacrifice for promoting the well-being of others. All the institutions in Indian society, such as joint family/extended family, marriage, Gurukuls (later on Pathshalas), have been advocating personal sacrifice for the furtherance of collective good.
Professional social work education, which is being imparted today in Indian society,
committed to promote the policy of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation in its
present form, is giving too much emphasis on individualism, which, according to Dr.
Kingsley Davis (cited in Ranade, 1954) “is tacitly assumed in three ways; (1) The
person is held responsible for his destiny. In case of neurosis, his will is the object of
treatment. In short, he is the entrepreneur. (2) Individual happiness is the ultimate goal. Mutual help is interpreted as the satisfaction of individual needs. (3) Human behaviour is assumed to be understandable in terms of individuals abstracted from their society. Need, desires and mental processes are frequently discussed as inherent in the organism.”Gordon Marshall in The Oxford Directory of Sociology (1998:114) has defined individualism broadly as “any set of ideas emphasising the importance of the individual and the individual’s interest”. Individualism holds the individual responsible for all his problems and ignores the structural drawbacks. This kind of stance is totally against the real spirit of the term ‘social’ as used in social work. The term ‘social’ is very wide.‘Social’ is not only public, but private also in that even inter-personal affairs and private are also covered within its scope because of the concern of other persons in society in a person’s private life. In the context of social work profession, which presently aims at promoting human development, protecting human rights, encouraging social development and assisting development, which is sustainable, without tears and environment friendly, the term social work will primarily include social structure, social system, social groups, social institutions, social organisations, social alliances and partnerships, social networks, social systems and subsystems, social disorganisation, social problems, social control, social processes, social service, social security, social welfare, social policy, social planning, social norms, social cooperation, social mobilisation, people’s empowerment, equality, justice, liberty, social duties, human rights,etc.
The real purpose and nature of social work can be understood on the basis of the
following excerpts taken from quotable works:
“The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human
relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance wellbeing.
Utilizing theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work
intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles
of human rights and social justice are fundamental to work.”
(From the Second Revised Discussion Document: Global Qualifying Standards
for Social Work Education and Training-August 2002, p.8).
The purpose of social work is –
“to enhance human well-being and alleviate poverty, oppression and other forms
of social injustice.”
(Education Policy and Accreditation Standards, Council on Social Work Education,
2001, cited in Mohan, 2002:196).
“Social work practice promotes human well-being by strengthening opportunities,
resources and capacities of people in their environments and by creating policies
and services to correct conditions that limit human rights and the quality of life. The
social work profession seeks to eliminate poverty, discrimination and oppression.
Guided by a person-in-environment perspective and respect for human diversity,
the profession works to effect social and economic justice worldwide.”
(Education Policy and Accreditation Standards, Council on Social Work Education,
2001, cited in Mohan, 2003: 113).
“The heart of darkness, it seems, lies in our perpetual territorial, cognitive and
institutional trappings that institutional-structural setting design in a particular spatiotemporal context.” (Mohan, 2003:39)
“Context matters. I find this strengths/assets/church/faith model of practice as a
revisionist attempt to mystify oppression by deifying institutionalized structures
and demonizing the sufferers who lack “strengths” to cope with systematic
problems.” (Mohan, 2003:57)
“However, it should be central to our responsibilities to develop our response to
the present human condition. Therefore, our curricular focus needs to be
strongly proactive in respect of the issues, which affect our country—poverty
due to exploitation, oppression, injustice, violation of human rights, indicating
socio-economic rights, or food security, income generation, primary health,
education, housing, sanitation, potable water and transport/communication.”
In the developed nations of the world, social security system is fairly comprehensive to ensure a minimum desirable standard of living and they have evolved systems and subsystems in different walks of life with appropriate institutions in conformity with value commitments made in their respective constitutions. However, in developing countries like India in which even basic needs of food, water, clothing, shelter, education and health of all members are not met properly and quite a sizeable section of population is forced to live a sub-human life, (in which the present era of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation) has further worsened. In the words of Pate (2004 : 7), ‘the quality of growth is bad in India, which makes growth unsustainable’. In India, therefore, the term ‘social’ in social work must primarily address itself to systemic faults, which obstruct the proper human development, sustain the fossilized social institutions like caste, Sati, child marriage polygyny, restraint on widow’s remarriage, ‘Purda’; Devdasi,
debt bondage, etc, encourage alien individualistic and hedonistic values, and promote
indiscriminate exploitation of limited national resources for the sake of the luxury of a privileged few, and which in the ultimate analysis, reinforce the veracity of the rule of ‘might is right’.
Today, we are standing at a crossroad without knowing which way- Western or
Indian, to go. There are certain good things in every culture, and our culture in ancient
times has shown the way to the entire globe. It has taught the lessons necessary for the realisation of optimum human development, establishment of social institutions, which could cater to the needs of all, inculcation of communitarian values, primacy of duty (Rina) oriented attitudes, creation of respect for nature and generation of sensitivity towards pains and suffering of others and whole-hearted preparedness to sacrifice everything including life for their alleviation. Unfortunately, the alien rule of more than thousand years in the country has adulterated our culture and created such a blend of native and foreign values and norms that we are at our wit’s end in deciding what is right and what is wrong. We must admit candidly that there are many good things, which we can learn from the West in all walks of life including organisation of social work education in the country, e.g., objectivity and systematic pursuit of knowledge,regulation of various systems according to well established rules, introduction of varied kinds of checks and balances to restrain individual whims and fancies, devotion to duty, observance of discipline, etc. but at the same time, there are many more good things in our own society, which we must inform social work education, for example Rinas towards parents, creators, knowledge and nature, primacy of duties over rights,obligation of Grihasth (a married person) to perform Panch Mahayagna, Brahma Yagna & teaching and studying in the memory of Rishis; Pitri Yagna –offering of food and water in the memory of ancestors at the Shradhha ceremony; Deva-yagna-oblation offered to the sacred fire, Bhuta-yagna-offering of food to alleviate and propitiate spirits, and Nriyagna-offerings of food and shelter to guests and strangers [Prabhu,1936],compassion towards pains and suffering of others, equanimity in case of pleasure and pains, absence of avarice and jealousy towards others’ wealth and restrained use of natural resources; non-performance of any such thing unto others, which the performer would not like others to do unto him, perceiving all beings like one’s own self and the entire world as one’s own family, promotion of well-being of all beings, etc. The yams and Niyams, which form the part of Ashtanga Yog, prescribe such a moral and ethical code, which, if observed, can promote the well-being of all beings and lead to the establishment of society in which no one will be poor, sorrowful and miserable.
Social work education, at present, should have a mission to create equalitarian, just,
leberatory, brotherly, non-violent and non-exploitative society. It should directly address to varied kinds of social disadvantages-old and new. There have been some like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and women, people living in flood and drought prone areas, etc. who have suffered for thousands of years either because of our invidious social system or because of adverse geographical conditions. There are many who have been marginalized because of our wrong policies, plans and programmes, our misuse and abuse of scientific and technological advancements and adoption of western values. In this category may be included landless labourers, marginal and small farmers, women workers performing night duty, unskilled workers, rural artisans, project affected people, victims of atrocities, terrorism, war, etc., people affected by ethnic violence, communal conflicts and inter-caste strifes, inhabitants of unsafe and insecure regions migrant workers, long distance drivers, victims of various types of accidents,sufferers of varied kinds of pollution—air, water, noise, soil, etc., victims of sex tourism,people defrauded and cheated by organised fraudulent gangs, companies, individuals,etc., small entrepreneurs who even after taking huge amounts of loan and making their best possible efforts either could not successfully complete their projects or who could not sell their products in the market, family members of those who have been killed while performing their duties as army men, policemen, etc. specially in strife torn regions,workers in fire-fighting organisations, persons who are exploited in course of their fiduciary relationships, such as students, patients, litigants, young children, etc., victims of corruption
who pay grease money, but have to content themselves without getting their work done,small farmers who heavily suffer because of great fluctuations in prices, not only of their produce but also of essential inputs, victims of ragging in professional institutions, innocent girls who are cheated in the name of marriage, particularly by organised foreign as well as inland gangsters who abuse them for immoral traffic after marriage, families of persons killed during election duties from Panchayti Raj up to Parliament, victims of neglect by professional experts who callously and negligently perform their duties and harm the interests of their clients, many a girl remaining unmarried because of the inability of their parents to arrange the demanded dowry, newly married women, tortured/maimed because of persistent demands of dowry; young children maimed by organised gangsters to induct them in beggary, victims of HIV/AIDS, destitute aged and neglected and disrespected aged in their own families, which they have supported by making great sacrifices during their active period of life, retrenched workers and terminated employees, etc.
Since the State is gradually retreating from its responsibility of human, social and sustainable development, devolving it to non-governmental/voluntary/community based people’s organisations and local self-government-Panchayati Raj Institutions in rural areas and Nagar Nigams/Nagar Mahapalikas/Nagar Palikas in urban areas, and also since the Indian society is even now basically a rural and agrarian society, social work education must give greater attention to the promotion of the weaker and vulnerable sections in rural areas, closely associated with agriculture and allied occupations with focus on eradication of poverty, promotion of human, social and sustainable development, assurance of human rights, permeation of justice in all walks of life and participation of people through PRIs as well as NGOs/VOs and CBOs in varied kinds of programmes directed towards social transformation. In urban areas also, there are pockets where there is concentration of weaker and vulnerable population, such as slums, congested and over crowded markets, red light areas (even now in existence in metropolises and some other urban-industrial settings), and social work education must seriously concern itself with the protection and promotion of their interests.Since social work’s main concern in Indian society in the future will be the removal of poverty, generation of employment, eradication of all kinds of discrimination, abuse and exploitation, promotion of fullest actualisation of people’s potentials through the fulfillment13 of basic minimum needs, promotion of healthy social institutions and values, initiation of environment friendly development to leave enough resources for future generations, and assurance of security against varied kinds of contingencies whose nature and magnitude are likely to change in future, it will have to pay greater attention to the creation of core competencies and employment of methods and techniques, which may be helpful in transforming the Indian social system on desired lines. Some such core competencies that may be attempted to be created through social work education may be: collection and analysis of data for understanding the relevant issues and problems, formulation of suitable policies, plans and programmes, project formulation and management, monitoring and evaluation of plans, programmes and projects,identification of the right kinds of NGOs/VOs/ CBOs, creation of new alliances, partnership and networks and strengthening of the already existing ones for more coordinated and fruitful action, mobilisation of resources, identification of present social evils, superstitions, stereotypes and initiation of necessary social reforms and changes,promotion of public cooperation and people’s participation in programmes of common
interest, establishment of rapport, development and mobilisation of human resources,
creation and management of new organisation, budgeting and financial control,
management information system, etc.
Since social work in India has to deal with mass problems of poverty,
deprivation, destitution, unemployment, illiteracy, ill-health, non-availability of
nutritious food and wholesome water, shelterlessness, child labour, neglected aged,
gender discrimination, women’s exploitation and abuse, neglect and abuse of elderly,
atrocities against Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women, ethnic conflicts,
communal riots, inter caste strifes, non-responsive, irresponsible and corrupt
administration, irresponsible media, corrupt NGOs, etc., it will have to give greater
emphasis in the course of its integrated practice in future, to employment of methods
of social action, community organisation, social group work, social welfare
administration and social work research than to social casework. It will have to change its orientation –from therapeutic to transformational as also its approach-from person centered to collectivity centered. It will have to adopt integrated practice wherein any one or more of the well established methods can be used, depending upon the situational requirements.
Since in any collectivity-oriented work, understanding of group and community structure and dynamics is required to develop some common minimum agreement on commonly cherished goals and commonly agreed upon means and methods, it will be necessary that subjects related to sociology and social psychology like personality, culture,motivation, beliefs, attitudes, values, norms, morale, leadership, crowd, public, social movements, social reform, social duties, human rights, cliques and factions, social integration, power structure, etc. should be made part of the curriculum. Likewise,methods, and techniques of dealing with groups and communities, such as meeting and greeting people, introducing one’s own self and getting the introduction of others, establishing rapport, probing into the felt-needs and problems, clarifying the causes responsible for people’s present pitiable conditions, generating awareness of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats among people, making people aware of their duties and rights, conscientising the oppressed, breaking the culture of silence,of depressed, organising people, mobilising people and required resources, organising non-violent protests, Dharnas, relay fasts, hunger strikes, etc., forging new alliances,partnerships and networks networking, with NGOs/VOs/CBOs and their networks,and PRIs/urban local bodies, monitoring and evaluating the progress, etc. will alsohave to be incorporated within social work curriculum.
With the proliferation in the number of Schools/Departments of Social Work in the
country today, we will have to seriously think about what kind of courses-Certificate,
Diploma, B.S.W., M.S.W., Ph.D. and D.litt., are to be organised in future. With increasing opportunities for employment in NGOs, Corporate sector, etc. and with the availability of a large number of M.S.Ws., M.Phils and even Ph.Ds today, employers prefer to employ those who have higher qualifications. As a consequence, the scope for Certificate and Diploma holders and B.S.Ws is decreasing. Again, a large number of B.S.Ws do not succeed in getting admission to M.S.W. programmes because the students from other disciplines generally perform better, particularly in the Entrance Tests with a bias for General Knowledge, General Awareness and Reasoning, may be because of their greater theoretical grounding, higher level of proficiency in languages and higher level of general knowledge. Thus, the inability of a large number of B.S.Ws in getting suitable admission at post-graduate level and getting employment in open market is motivating Schools/Departments of Social Work to think about continuing B.S.W Course. It is in this context that some of the School/Department(s) like Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi, have already abolished the B.S.W Course and others like Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi are in the process. In order to increase depth without compromising with breadth, and likewise, quantity without deteriorating the quality of social work education, it has become necessary that we should also, like LL.B/LL.M.integrated course being run by several institutions/universities, think of exploring the possibility of starting an integrated course with first termination point at BSW level after three years of successful study. In addition to this, it seems desirable to start some highly specialised certificate and diploma courses in subjects like Voluntary Action and
NGO Management, Social Duties and Human Rights, Women’s Studies, Human
Resource Development, Computer Application in Social Sciences, Management of
Social Services, Quantitative Research, Statistics for Social Scientists, etc.
To sum up, we must be clear in our mind that in India, we must plan and organise future social work education in such a manner that our professionals should have full commitment to providing sincere and dedicated service to the suffering humanity, considering it to be a Rina (debt) towards society, which has given us an opportunity to occupy the present positions, and to be able to bring about desired social change in order that the duty conscious and responsible citizens with opportunities for the fullest realisation of their potentials may be developed and mass problems may be solved within the conducive institutional framework and democracy as a way of life may permeate all the various spheres of our society.