History of Social Work Education in India
Social work is a professional and academic discipline that seeks to improve the quality and well being of individuals, groups, and communities through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, crisis intervention, and teaching for the benefit of those affected by social disadvantages such as poverty, mental and physical illness or disability, and, social injustice including violations of their civil liberties and human rights. (Jacob, 1994)Social work profession began to lean heavily on the patterns and institutions developed in the west and specially in the United States.
The development of Social Work in India as profession came in to exist much later however we can see different form of social work approaches that were prevalent from ancient time onwards such as Era of Community Living, Era of Charity, Era of Secular Reforms, Era of Religious Reforms, Era of Professional Training and Organization. The organization of formal training for Social Workers started since the nineteen twenties by Social Service League, Bombay (Jacob, 1994)
professional education for social work in India began in 1936 when school of social work was set up in Bombay by the house of Tata, one of the largest private and business enterprises the main inspiration for its establishment came from America, For 11 years between 1936 to 1947, this institute was the only imparting professional education in social work In 1946, the second institution was established in Lucknow under auspices of young women Christian association with a substantial grand from its counterpart in USA It was shifted to Delhi and named Delhi school of social work After two years of experimentation, it started a form a two year programmed of social work training in 1949 and was affiliated to as a graduate school to the university of Delhi for the master of arts degree. the institution was eventually merged with the university in 1979 and became one of its departments for a administrative matters under the faculty of social sciences, In 1950another institute was started as a faculty of social work under the university of Baroda somewhat on the general pattern of the American which was accepted earlier at Bombay and Delhi During the next decade 1951-60fourteen more institutions were started in 1971-80 By the end of 1980thiirty institutions were providing social work education and training at graduate level I t is new reported that the number has gone to fifty or more in the mid -nineties The years between 1970 and 1980 also saw social work educators advocating greater need for relevance of social work education. (Jacob, 1994) Several institutions undertook major review of curricula and development of new courses with more development focus and focus on poverty. However by 1984there was discrepancies and confusion that had seeped into social work that prompted Desai to argue strongly that social work needs to move away from too much dependency on provisions and services to organizing people to promote change, from institutionalized to non institutionalized programs, from remedial to those that confronts the cause of poverty, from private concern to public issues, from research with problem focus to one of action oriented research. Social action should not be seen only as a method but as an overriding philosophy behind social work education and practice in India. Social work education in 1986 witnessed the setting up of the curriculum development centre in TISS. This was followed by another major curriculum review undertaken by the UGC in 1988-1990 where social action; policy and planning and social conflict were stressed (Jacob, 1994).
The report of the UGC curriculum development which came out in 1989 for the first time noted the important of caste in social work and the same got incorporated as a component in social work curriculum under a course titled, “Issues and concerns of social work profession”. As if to amplify the irony further, M.S.Gore came out with a book titled, “Social Context of Ideology” which revolved around the ideas of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar. This movement was furthered by an interesting gathering of social workers around a theme ‘Towards People Centered Development’ organized by the TISS that purportedly deliberated on campaign and movements for empowerment of the marginalized. In 1997 the Declaration of Ethics of Professional Social work came out from the TISS published in the Indian Journal of Social work.[i] (Surendra Singh,Srivastava,S.P, 2003)
By 2003, a National Seminar on Standards for Assessment of Quality in Social Work Education was organized by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and sponsored by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), on November 11-13, 2003. The Seminar aimed at developing minimum and quality standards in social work education, for the NAAC criteria of assessment and accreditation. Twenty-four resource persons were identified to chair the different sessions and prepare papers on standards for specific criterion or sub-criterion. They were identified from the University Grants Commission (UGC)/ NAAC experts and officials; former members of the UGC Panel for Social Work Education; Presidents of social work professional associations; Heads of institutions for social work education, accredited by NAAC with Five Stars; select practitioner in charge of field action projects at institutions for social work education; and those who were also social work educators. (Jacob, 1994)
By 2005 restructuring of the first school of social work began. The new social work programs were rolled out in 2006 only within the TISS. Post restructuring of the first school of social work in the country, new distinct fields of practiced has emerged in social work education which includes Dalit and Tribal Social Work, Women Centered Social Work and Disability Social Work (bodhi s.r). While restructuring had happened trends has not picked up social work education across the country, while efforts towards the same is taking place at a rapid pace. There is the formation of a Government backed Network of Social Work Education led by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 2012, which is constituted by one senior representative from every social work institute in the country towards reforming social work courses, revision of curricular and updating the same in tuned with contemporary and future needs. (Nagpaul, 2005)
Social work education is mainly organized at the masters level because the American model which it copied was primarily at the graduate level till the end of the sixties Since then institution for ender graduate social work education in America have multiplied but in India less than a dozen institutions offer the bachelors degree in social work even today. Just as in ,social work education originated outside the established university education system in India
In India out of 200 universities which cover about 5000 colleges, only fifteen universities have separate department of social work, two universities are deemed to be universities and all other social work institutions are affiliated to universities (Jacob, 1994)
Major components of social work education
The program of education has basically three components : class room courses research project and field work .The courses offered are generally divided in to four groups. The first group consist of courses about Indian history, social structure, history and philosophy of social work and social problems; the second group relates to the study of human growth and development; and the third group includes methods of working with people such as social case work ,social group work community organization and community development ,social welfare administration and social research; and the group is composed of specialized courses (Surendra Singh,Srivastava,S.P, 2003)
The need for employment of professional social workers in various posts both in the voluntary sector and government arose with the introduction of several national programs of social welfare and development through five year plans.The initial stage of social work education, the Scholl of social work which were launched mainly by the non-government organizations were in close touch with practicing agencies in the field. (Jacob, 1994)
In the initial stages ,social work methods were primarily used in the field of social welfare over the years, social started working in diverse field, like rural development ,child development, social development etc.The major emphasis of social work education is to provide training to students to gain employment in remedial and service oriented and voluntary and social work orientation The ideal focus would be to train students towards aggressive social work that is towards social change or reform. (Jacob, 1994)
A trend of setting up units for curriculum development in ministries or in university departments internationally come later. India too has a similar history. Two review committee one in 1960 and another in 1975,were set up by the university grant commission. Commission is a body set up by government of India in 1953 the main function of the commission are promotion and coordination of university education and the determination and maintenance of standards of teaching ,examination and research in universities. (Jacob, 1994)
In keeping with international trends of curriculum activities, the university grand commission invited some university departments to carryout curriculum review reforms for various disciplines. A curriculum development centre for this purpose was set up in September 1986 The major task for this curriculum development centre were, (i) the reviewing the existing curriculum,(ii) formulating new curriculum,(iii) suggesting teaching learning resources, iv suggesting ways and means of preparing these and( v) suggesting teacher development programs. (Surendra Singh,Srivastava,S.P, 2003).
In India, in the early twentieth century, the phenomenon that appeared was formal training in social work which comprised of a course of lectures and supervised fieldwork. In the wake of nineteenth century, there was the growth of adhoc training courses. The first set of training in social work education was given by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay. The schools of Social Work which were established earlier had the expertise and the resources to develop social work education in the under-graduate level and integrate it with the graduate level, but no such initiative was adopted by them. But Rural Institutes of Vishva Bharati and Jamia Millia Islamia converted their Diploma in Rural Services to Bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 1967 (Jsha, 2009).
Till 2009, the number of Social Work training institution was 41. Bachelor’s degree was still being provided by some, Certificate courses in Social Work, Post-graduate diploma and most of them were conducting courses which were leading to Master’s degree in Social Work. And about one third of them were providing PhD courses. And two of the institutions were providing the highest research degree of D. Litt in Social Work (Jsha, 2009)
The need for indigenous elements of social work education in terms of its philosophy ,approaches, principles , theories and study materials cannot be over emphasized because working with people, studying social problems and administering social welfare programs call for indigenous orientation and skills. If social work has to move towards professionalism in society has to become effective, it must have indigenous foundations incorporating dominant cultural philosophies, on the one hand, and projected goals which are being promoted on the other. Besides these foundations higher education has to update with present approaches and developments.
1.Hans Nagpaul,(200) .Social work in urban India. New Delhi: Rawat Publiations.
2Surendra singh, Srivastava S.P.(2003).Social Work Education in India: Challenge and Opportunities. Lucknow: New Royal Book Co.
3.Jacob K.K.(1994). Social Work Education in India. Delhi: Himanshu Publications.
4.Jsha,J.K.(2009).An Introduction to Social work. New Delhi: (Jsha, 2009)Anmol Publications.