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Wednesday, April 09, 2014



Ø  Introduction(opinions of different contributors to Social work education)

Ø  History (How social work emerged as a profession leading to formal education system)

Ø  Conclusion ( emerging trends in Social work education)


I begin by stating Prof S R Moshini’s words “The historical evolution of under graduate SWE in India and US is traced, indicating how it has developed in the US as a part of the professional stream, while in India it is neither there nor here, not accepted as a professional course, yet not rejected as it is considered convenient though not essential.”In India we have colleges offering this as a course but its substantial value is yet questionable as some start of their career at a good pace and most of them are left behind where they started. (Jacob, 1994)

Quoting  Prof.Ranade (Jacob, 1994), according to him “ the important and expanding role of voluntary organizations, as well as social activists, in developing country like ours and the need to extend a helping hand” by professionals needs to be recognised. He lays emphasis on the idea that if we should focus on providing professional help to the people who require it and not any other common man or people of other profession help in them but we should take a brave step to stand forward that way it will motivate the development of SWE. He also says that we should distinguish ourselves (professional social workers) from the social scientists, both their concerns are the same but ours is deeper than theirs. The five year plans of our country have also played a major role in shaping the SWE states Dr. D. Paul Choudhry as this will create drastic changes and impact on the curriculum of social work as the need of the hour is to shift from welfare perspective to developmental perspective. To make an exact curriculum in SWE is difficult as the boundaries are large and continuously changing. There are about 10 institutions India which provide UG education in Social work. The position and contents of these courses are continuously subjected to changes. (Jacob, 1994)

SWE includes field work, regular classes, research and updating according to the current status of the societal requirements. Field work has its own impact as it helps the students in developing the skills that would help them to get a strong career. The field work curriculum has undergone drastic changes as the areas are vast leading to specializations such as medical and psychiatry, Human resources, community development and so on like the institute in Bangalore , NIMHANS provides professional training and orientation in the medical and psychiatry specialization. (Jacob, 1994)





This can be seen from the perspective of USA and UK who provided much of a contribution to the development of SWE.

In USA it is divided into 5 stages or periods (Jha, 2009)

ü  The colonial period- 1620-1776

ü  Civil war and Industrial revolution (1776-1860)

ü  Industrialism- the Human side (1860- 1900)

ü  Social work seeking professional Characteristic (1900-1930)

ü  Highly professional discipline (1930)

In each of these periods different developments took place that led to the SWE highlighting the main points (Jha, 2009)

ü  Alm houses were established for assisting disabled and as a work house for able-bodied paupers which took care of health problems of its inhabitants (Bellevue and Philadelphia hospitals in USA trace their history with these homes)

ü  Associations were formed for the function of charitable aid or mutual benefit were also formed on the basis of national origins and church associations

ü  By 1877 the most important contribution to modern social work was the charity organization society movement that was organized in Buffalo whose result was establishment of Settlement houses through settlement house movement

ü  1909-National Association for advancement of the coloured people and in 1010 National urban league was established.

ü  The depression of 1929 was turning point in the relief policies of the US leading to federal emergency relief act 1933

Beginning of SWE in USA

All the above pushed the need for professionalism of social work and Mary E Richmond can be considered as the first professional social worker in the USA. In 1897 in the national Conference of charities and corrections in Toronto, she advocated the establishment of training school for professional social workers followed to this New York school of Philanthropy was established which is today known as Columbia School of Social work. In 1901 Chicago school of Civics and philanthropy was established and was soon affiliated with the University of Chicago. Hence this was the beginning where it was realised that we must integrate social work as a professional course and award a degree for the same. The third School of Social work was established in Simmons College of Social work in Boston which was pioneer in medical social work. Then in 1919 the American Association of Schools of Social work was established to facilitate the administration amongst the schools of social work. In 1952 the Council of social work education (CSWE) was established to accredit the SWE in USA (Jha, 2009)



In UK it is divided into 7 stages or periods (Jha, 2009)

ü  Primitive stage

ü  1200 A.D to 1500

ü  1501 to 1600

ü  1600 to 1834

ü  1835 to 1905

ü  1906 to 1944

ü  1948 onwards

In each of these periods different developments took place that led to the SWE highlighting the main points

ü  The Elizabethan Poor law, 1601divided poor into categories and provided them with the appropriate services by having a logical relief system

ü  The mid of 19th century Charity Organization Society was established  leading to the idea of setting up voluntary organizations by adapting Community Organization and Casework methodologies for solving people’s problems.

ü  Then came the Settlement House Movement in 1867 which focused at educational and cultural development of the poor people

ü  In 1905 The poor law Commission recommended further deep developments and services of the categories of the poor which led to passing of the meals cat 1906, the education act 1908 , prevention of crime act 1908 ,the Children’s Act 1912 and so on

ü  Then came the Beverridge Report  based on which British has built its social insurance programmes (Jha, 2009)

Beginning of SWE in UK

In the year the education act was passed one of the main Universities recently completed 100 years in offering Social work had begun professional training for social and philanthropic work. The University of Birmingham was established in the year 1900. In 1918 JUCSS          (Joint Council for Social studies) was established whose aim was to coordinate the social studies departments across Britain. During 1920 there was a massive explosion of intake of social work professional across Britain which made the enrolment into professional training for social work even higher. World War 1 and 2 also made drastic changes in the demand for the course and at that they titled it training in Public and Social work. The demand for qualified social workers was on a rise which led to improvement in curriculum that focused on field work and research. Also in 1970 British Association of Social workers (BASW) and Center Council for education and training in Social work was established (CCTETSW) Through this  two professional awards were made available to social work students - the Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (CQSW) and the Certificate in Social Services (CSS) for social care staff. Following to this they also offered their one year and two year courses at postgraduate diploma or Masters level and  a four year social work degree with for a period which provided two years of social work training after a two year programme in social sciences. The late 1960s and early 1970s was a period of global radical political action. GSCC (General Social care Council) replaced CCTETSW to regulate and oversee the Social work education and registration. April1st 2003 marked the most important year as it was the first time that professional social workers could register and work. (Jha, 2009)

Eighty-three universities offer social work courses and the Guardian’s University Guide 2013 league tables puts Brunel, Oxford Brookes and Leeds universities at the top. According to figures from Ucas, the universities' admission body, 5,866 students were accepted on to a full-time undergraduate course this year – a slight drop from 6,114 in 2011. There was also a fall in the number of students starting social work foundation courses – which is the equivalent of the first two years of an honours degree, from 1,021 last year, to 820 in 2012. (Burke, 2012)

In India it is divided into 5 stages: (Jacob, 1994)

ü  The era of community living

ü  Era of charity

ü  Era of secular reforms

ü  Era of religious reforms

ü  Era of professional training and organization

In each of these periods different developments took place that led to the SWE. Highlighting the main points

ü  The prevalence of Yajna, Havana and Dana in Ancient History of India brings to us the development of the concept of social work perspective form the society.

ü  Then there was the Charter Act of 1813 which promoted education and approved the work of Christian missionaries.

ü  Followed to all this there were great men and women who were struggling to change the current scenario of the society at that time. For ex: Raja Ram Mohan Roy fought to stop ill practices like Sati, Brahmo Samaj, Arya Smaj and so on were established

ü  There were many social reformers who came forward to fight for widow remarriage, eradication of Sati and other evil social existences of the society then through this there were lot of acts passed, Indian Missionaries opened to help the society for its better development.

ü  The theosophical society founded by Madame Blavtsky and Colonel Olcott in Madras began to play a major role in 1893 under the guidance of Mrs. Annie Besant who were defending Hindi rituals and rites. She established Central Hindi College at Benaras.

ü  In 1830 in Bombay Elphinstone Institute took interest in spread of education as a voluntary effort.

ü  In 1880 A.O. Hume suggested that they should have a common platform to analyse the social problems of India

ü  Then Gopal Krishna Gokhale took deep interest and established Servants of the Indian Society in 1905

ü  In 1917 Women’s Indian Association was established in Madras by Dr. Annie Besant and Mrs. Margaret Cousins.

ü  Then there also was the contributions of Mahatma Gandhi towards the upliftment of the society (Untouchability)

ü  All the above led to the establishment of social work as a professional carrier and there was the Social service league that was set up in Bombay without a systematic plan of curriculum, training , etc for the interested candidates (Jacob, 1994)

Beginning of SWE in India (Jha, 2009)

ü  In 1936 the need was addressed by Sir Dorabji tata, where his trustees and him established Sir Dorabji Tata graduate School of social work (today know as Tata Institute of Social sciences) Mr. Clifford Manshardt an American Missionary as the first Director of TIS who organised the SWE curriculum and methods which are now followed in all institutions of India

ü  Until 1947 this was the only school providing professional training in social work.

ü  After independence Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi and College of social service, Ahmadabad was established in 1947 followed by Delhi School of Social work in 1948 and department of Social work Lucknow University in 1949.

ü  In 1953 after the Constitution was framed the Central Social welfare Board was established to promote and strengthen the voluntary efforts in the field of social welfare.

ü  Then in 1960 The association of school of social work in India was established to act as a non official organization in the field of SWE

ü  More than 50 institutions were established before 1988 that provided Certificate course, bachelors’ degree, Masters Degree, diploma, PhD and so on. About 1/3rd provide PhD courses to the students.

ü  All Institutions before 1967 wee providing 2 years of graduate courses only, it is since 1960’s that we are having UG courses. 

ü  In 1965 the first review committee on SWE under UGC and Union ministry of Education brought in a lot of suggestions to change the system of provision of the degree (UG).

ü  Then in 1980 second review committee on SWE under UGC and Union ministry of Education reviewed 10 UG programmes in Social work which stated that this program needs to be now provided as a professional undergraduate course and not as a minor subject. Nirmal Nikethan then began improving its Masters curriculum

At present there are Universities providing professional training specifically for strengthening the core skills of social workers but a lot more changes needs to be incorporated and the review committee’s suggestions must be implemented. UGC has provided a standard curriculum and a lot more which must be followed by all colleges and universities in India for promoting positive growth in SWE. (UGC)


The outlook on June 22nd 2009 stated that the following are the top colleges providing Social work UG, PG and PhD courses


Name of Institute




Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) 




Delhi School of Social Work




College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan




Xavier Institute of Labour Relations




Madras School of Social Work




Institute of Rural Management (IRMA)




Dept of Social Work, Christ College




Dept of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia




Dept of Social Work, Pune University




Dept of Sociology, Mumbai University




School of Social Work, Mangalore University




Dept of Social Work, Lucknow University




Dept of Social Work, Annamalai University




Loyola College of Social Sciences







(Out Look )


There are the global standards set up in regard to SWE by IASSW and IFSW which are: (Hungman, 2010)

1.     Schools purpose or mission statements

2.     Programme objective and outcomes

3.     Programme curricula including fieldwork

4.     Core curricula

5.     Professional staff

6.     Social work students( admission to retention to exams)

7.     Structure, administration, governance and resources

8.     Cultural and ethnic diversity and gender inclusiveness

9.     Social work values and ethical codes of conduct

This was a major step taken to improve the quality of SWE.It is more likely that Social work is yet a young social science subject which needs more of changes and updations. In India the perception of the word Social work is taken in general terms and hence there falls the lacunae alongside with the below points (Jacob, 1994)


Ø  Inadequate qualified staff, insufficient teaching hours, lack of interest from students towards research

Ø  The curricula in the ISSW is a blind copy of the American Social work syllabi

Ø  The pattern of field work is generic and vary from institute to institute

Ø  Field work agencies have their own concept of field work curricula and do not understand that uniformity needs to be maintained.

Ø  SWE should be considered as a part of international social work.

Ø  Implementation of the existing policies and suggestions of Social work associations and Boards.

Ø  Enrolment ratio ann awareness of the course must be increased

Many countries like UK (Davis, 2008) celebrated the platinum jubilee of SWE in India, yet the scenario has not changed much since the committee review. A commonality has to be brought in which will reflect the current scenario of social work but at the same time a lot more is happening in colleges offering the courses as mentioned above who are training social work professionals in accordance to the need of the society.

The above essay traced the simultaneous beginning of SWE in USA, UK and India as USA and UK have been great contributors to the development of SWE along with Vietnam, Canada, China and other countries as well.


Burke, C. (2012, October 1). Retrieved from

Davis, A. (2008). Retrieved from

Hungman, R. (2010). International Perspectives on Social Work Education and Training . In R. Hungman, Understanding International Social work (pp. 115-120). China: Palgrav Macmillam.

Jacob, K. K. (1994). Five Decades of Social work educationin India. In K. K. Jacob, Social work education in India (pp. 1-10). Delhi and Udaipur: Himanshu Publications .

Jha, J. K. (2009). History of Social work. In J. K. Jha, An Introduction to Social work (pp. 16-33 & 182-190). New Delhi and Lucknow: Anmol Publications and Instituition for Sustainable development .

Out Look . (n.d.). Retrieved from

Reamer, F. G. (1994). The evolution of Social work Knowledge. Newyork: Columbia University Press.

Should UK universities take social work education more seriously? (2014, March 26). Retrieved from 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies:

Singh, S., & S.P., S. (2003). Social work education in next Millenium . In S. Singh, & S. S.P., Social work education in India (pp. 139-143). Lucknow: New Royal Book Co.

UGC. (n.d.). Retrieved from Curriculum.aspx


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