Social Worker: Need to Work Rather Than Talk

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As a Social worker, always, we proudly say that social work is a profession. We always give the logic that social work has history in our country too and we relate those histories with king, the rich men, and the people who has on power and their duties to serve the subject. We also do not become back to say that social work is unique but really why it is unique? Because it has methods, principles, code and ethics which all profession have. Then how it became profession? Social work has its own methods (Case Work, Group Work, Community Organization, Social Work administration, Social work Research, and Social Action) where the first three as known as the primary methods of the social work and rest of them are known as secondary methods of social work. Yes, no one can reject that social work have their own principles, code of ethics, and all those things what show that social work is a profession. But it is in India, Nepal and other developing countries?

In India the history of social work is about 100 years and in Nepal it is about 20 years younger than me. In India, there is some association regarded to social work, social worker, school of social work but are they accepted by all social worker? Are they really working for the betterment of social work(ers) in India? Why Indian social work is not able to decolonize from western model of social work. What are the factors stop Indian social work to stop from decolonization?

Even in India, there is numbers of colleges and university which is providing social work training and directly indirectly all are teaching the same literatures and foreign guided principles and methods. Actually social work does not give us the feeling of “our”. There is not enough literature which provides indigenous knowledge and skills and available literatures are also guided from western values and beliefs. The Indian authors are also trying to justify the western methods and principle in Indian context which is not possible in some extends because the values, beliefs, society, culture, human behavior is totally different than southern countries. Still Nepalese writer did not start to write about social work. There are some books are available but those are targeting social work student to get good marks rather than new concept

In Nepal the history is not very long but the social worker are very much inactive that they still not able to establish their own association, without association there is still social workers are without code of ethics, lack indigenous values, and totally colonized on western literature as well as Indian literature. The first curriculum was exported from school of social work, Nirmala niketan and the job started by St. Xavier College in 1995.

We are making very narrow of the scope of social work as a NGO worker. Is the NGO worker are Social worker or not the question always comes in my mind. But when I want to prove them that they are not social worker I am becoming failed to prove that because I see that they are doing better job what as an academic social worker we are not doing. We have showing so many scopes of social work in different-different fields but actually the agency do not hire us as a social worker they are hire us because we completed the education degree which is required for the post. Hardly, have we got any vacancy which is only for social worker. In Nepal, it will take more time for that also. Only who has social work background they only know about social work in Nepal and other people or professional things that social work is like sociology they often called social work as sociology.

Actually where is the problem, why we are not recognized? The answer is we did not do the work whatever we have to do as a social worker. Another issue is the social work is not our own or we are not able to make it our own. Even it is a global profession but it is not profession in developing country.

The international Association of School of Social Work (1928) and the International federation of Social Worker (1929) helps to introduce social work as a global profession (Pietroni, 1995; Lymbery, 2003). But still these associations are located on West and their activities, principles, values; beliefs are influenced by their own society. So, even social work is a global profession it needs local values, principles, methods and local bodies to develop social work as a profession.

In Nepal and India there is one common belief on so called academic social worker that they are the social worker because they have degree certificate. But I have strongly belief that in Developing countries like Nepal and India, there are two kinds of social worker. One who have training certificate and after that practicing social work, another one is the individuals who are practicing social work but they do not have training social work certificate. In our country, we can see that the second kinds of social worker are doing effective job and recognition than academic or trained social worker get. Why? The answer is, they believe on work rather than talk. They know the local people, society, culture very well and they make plan as the same way what we are getting training but they are practicing unknowingly.  As a social worker we also should focus on work.

Asamoah et al. (1997) argued that the increasing global changes, the curriculum in many parts of the world remains narrowly focus on domestic perspectives (cited from Nikku, 2010) but unfortunately we are not yet to focus on domestic perspectives. We are just trying to interpret west social work on south.


Curriculum of social work in Indian and Nepal

It is very similar curriculum in Nepal as well as in India. There are some slightly difference on history of social work but both accept that social work history was there. Actually, the Indian and Nepalese trainers are not ready to believe that the social work is not our concept. It is imported by western and mainly the purpose of to import social work is to propaganda of Christianity. In our country there is history of social service, social movement and we were practice all the methods unknowingly and later when the western gives it a name as a social work then we started to say yes we are also doing social work.

Even our course contents are not able to address such a mistake. The training institutes produce thousands of social workers in India and Nepal but they are still not able to tackle the social problems. That’s why till now social workers are not able to solve any issues by themselves. Even people are saying that social worker is jack of all but master of none. It also shows that we only tried to expand our scope but not quality.

As we all know that in developing country, there is need to solve lots of issues which we cannot solve in individually but still we are giving less importance of Community organization methods which is essential for developing countries. In developing countries, people love to live with family rather than individual so people are more psychologically fit comparison to western society. So there is not very much important of case work but our curriculum provides more opportunity to know about case work and group work. In Mangalore university curriculum for MSW, the community organization and social action is merged but these are the more essential field rather than case work and group work. As a developing countries social worker we should focus on community and tried to solve the issues which has large target so we should have more knowledge on these but our curriculum give us less information about these. PRA approach is an example which is successful in developing countries because it emerged from developing countries.

Social work is a profession where trainee should be trained with skill but there are only 30 percent marks for practicum and 70 percent is theory. Theory is developed after practicing but still we focus on theory.

The two day field work practicum is not enough to practice all the methods of social work. There should be divided certain time for each methods which helps trainee to practice all those methods. We mostly focus on case work and group work in field but community organization is not given more space. 

Position: Academic Social Worker



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