Dr. S.A. Kazi
The emergence of Social Work education is a result of multidisciplinary response to the diversified social issues in society. This diversified response to the societal issues resulted social work profession. The global definition of social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central theme to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing (Global Definition of the Social Work Profession, approved by IFSW in 2014).
This definition can be interpreted as it is a professional and academic discipline that seeks to improve the quality and well being of individuals, groups, and communities through its standard methods like Case Work, Group Work, Community Organisation and other axillary methods like Social Action and Social Work Research for the benefit of those affected by social disadvantages such as poverty, mental and physical illness or disability, and, social injustice etc.
Social work profession in India was influenced with the institutions developed in the west mainly the United States of America and England i.e. Social work being offered at post-graduation level. For the first time in India the professional education commenced in 1936 at Sir Darobji Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. For a very long period i.e. between 1936 and 1947 this was the only institution imparting professional education in social work. Now a number of institutions are offering both at P.G and UG level. The initial stage of social work education which was launched mainly by the non-government organisaion concentrated to train the students to gain employment in remedial and service oriented voluntary agencies to uilise the training in field of social welfare. Over the years, social workers started working in diversed fields like rural development, child development, social development etc.
The School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya, Mangalore was established in 1960. This was the first and pioneer Postgraduate centre for Social Work Education in Karnataka started by Society of the Heart of Mary, an International Catholic Religious Society of France. Initially this institute was affiliated to University of Mysore and then to Mangalore University and in 2007 it became autonomous.
In 1962, the Post graduate Department of Social Work was established in Karnataka University, Dharwad considered being the first department imparting social work education in university system in Karnataka.
In 1975, the Bangalore University started the Department of Social Work followed by Gulbarga University in 1984, University of Mysore in 1990, Later on Kuvempu University, Mangalore University, Karnataka State Women’s University, Vijaypur, Tumkur University, Davangere University, Rani Channamma University, Belagavi, Vijayanagar Krishnadevaraya University, Ballari and the latest one is in Central University of Karnataka, Kalaburagi started the Social Work course in 2012-13.
Social Work Course in Affiliated Colleges in Karnataka:
In addition to the University Departments and few P.G.Centres, many private colleges have started the Post Graduate Social Work programmes with the affiliation of the concerned universities. Bangalore University has got 9 affilited colleges,, Mangalore University 17, Gulbarga University 40, Mysore University 9, Tumkur University 4, Rani Channamma University Belagavi 8, Krishna Devaraya University Ballari 4 and Karnataka State Women’s University 01.
More than 100 colleges including 8 Government colleges are offering Bachelors Degree programme in Social Work (BSW). Even an optional paper in Social Work is taught at BA degree course in some of the colleges in Karnatka.
In the recent past, the quantitative growth of social work istitutions has taken place in Karnataka but it does not match with the qualitative development of social work education, this is a matter of concern for the development of profession.
Kumara (2016) a Research Scholar from Kuvempu University, in his unpublished Ph.D. thesis entitled “ A Critical Analysis of Social Work Education and Intervention in Karnataka” has brought out several issues such as lack of qualified faculty, poor teaching methodology, lack of commitment among both teachers and students etc which are the alarming signs for the deterioration of social work education.
Rambabu Botcha published an article on Problems and Challenges of Social Work Education in India in International Journal of multidisciplinary Educational Research (2012) has identified several issues which holds good for Karnataka also. They are:
Lack of public recognition of Professional Social Work, Lack of resources in welfare agencies, Lack of Indigenous Material or Literature, appointment of Non-Professional social workers in the welfare agencies and members of BOA and BOS in social work institutions, not having National Council for Social Work, Inbreeding in Several Institutions, Social Work Educators are not Practitioners etc.
Therefore to make the social work as an effective profession in Karnataka, it is utmost necessary to enhance the quality of teaching and regulate the institutions by establishing a regulatory authority on par with Indian Medical Council or NCTE etc.
Prof.Armaity Desai (1994), has given the following recommendations, they are worth to be implemented in Karnataka:
a. Students face difficulties in coping with English language as a medium of instruction.
b. There is a decreased in demand for social work education in spite of steep increase in schools of
social work in the state.
c. Few colleges have Field Action Projects (FAP) to impart field based learing for students.
d. There is a lack of sufficient agencies for field work placement.
e. Some students also have to pay agencies for providing them with field work exposure.
f. There is little or almost no choice in selecting students for admission to social work programmes.
g. Unplanned growth of schools of social work.
h. The quality of field work supervision is low.
i. The focus in field work training needs to shift from programme oriented to process oriented.
Dr. S.A. Kazi
Professor and Chairman, Department of Social Work, Karnataka State Women’s University, Vijayapur