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14_Professional Social Work Education and Practice in India

14_Professional Social Work Education and Practice in India

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Published by Ilango Ponnuswami
Professional Social Work Education and Practice
in India—Strengthening Inclusive Perspective
and Approach
G. Sathiyan1 and P. Ilango2
ABSTRACT
Social exclusion and inclusive policy are key concepts that are being talked about much
worldwide. Particularly, in India, the policy makers and planners have been giving a lot
of importance to the multifarious issues relating to ‘inclusive growth’ in the recent years.
Even in the field of higher education, these concepts are being considered more
seriously these days with the UGC’s timely and appropriate initiative of setting up of a
number of Centres for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy in about 35
selected Universities from all regions of the country. Professional social workers are
recruited to these centres in various capacities such as Lecturer cum Assistant Director,
Reader cum Deputy Director, Professor and Chairperson/Director and even as Research
Assistants. Professional social workers have ample scope to contribute their might in
uplifting the poor, marginalized and socially excluded groups of people for which they
need to have a strong foundation in the theoretical constructs of social exclusion,
inclusive development, inclusive policy and related aspects. This paper highlights the
need for an ‘inclusive perspective’ in social work education and practice in different
fields.
Professional Social Work Education and Practice
in India—Strengthening Inclusive Perspective
and Approach
G. Sathiyan1 and P. Ilango2
ABSTRACT
Social exclusion and inclusive policy are key concepts that are being talked about much
worldwide. Particularly, in India, the policy makers and planners have been giving a lot
of importance to the multifarious issues relating to ‘inclusive growth’ in the recent years.
Even in the field of higher education, these concepts are being considered more
seriously these days with the UGC’s timely and appropriate initiative of setting up of a
number of Centres for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy in about 35
selected Universities from all regions of the country. Professional social workers are
recruited to these centres in various capacities such as Lecturer cum Assistant Director,
Reader cum Deputy Director, Professor and Chairperson/Director and even as Research
Assistants. Professional social workers have ample scope to contribute their might in
uplifting the poor, marginalized and socially excluded groups of people for which they
need to have a strong foundation in the theoretical constructs of social exclusion,
inclusive development, inclusive policy and related aspects. This paper highlights the
need for an ‘inclusive perspective’ in social work education and practice in different
fields.

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138
 
Quality Enhancement of Social Work Profession in India: Issues and Challenges
Professional Social Work Education and Practicein India—Strengthening Inclusive Perspectiveand Approach
G. Sathiyan
1
and P. Ilango
2
 
 ABSTRACT
Social exclusion and inclusive policy are key concepts that are being talked about muchworldwide. Particularly, in India, the policy makers and planners have been giving a lotof importance to the multifarious issues relating to ‘inclusive growth’ in the recent years.Even in the field of higher education, these concepts are being considered moreseriously these days with the UGC’s timely and appropriate initiative of setting up of anumber of Centres for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy in about 35selected Universities from all regions of the country. Professional social workers arerecruited to these centres in various capacities such as Lecturer cum Assistant Director,Reader cum Deputy Director, Professor and Chairperson/Director and even as Research Assistants. Professional social workers have ample scope to contribute their might inuplifting the poor, marginalized and socially excluded groups of people for which theyneed to have a strong foundation in the theoretical constructs of social exclusion,inclusive development, inclusive policy and related aspects. This paper highlights theneed for an ‘inclusive perspective’ in social work education and practice in differentfields.
INTRODUCTION
The word “inclusive” has become not only fashionable but also quite relevant in our country. The Oxford Dictionary gives four meanings to the word, and the mostinclusive meaning is “not excluding any section of society.” In this sense, the title of the Approach Paper on the Eleventh Five Year Plan “Towards faster and moreinclusive growth” reflects the need to make growth “more inclusive” in terms of  benefits flowing through more employment and income to those sections of societywhich have been bypassed by higher rates of economic growth witnessed in recentyears.The recognition of the need for more inclusive growth by our planners is a welcomeshift in emphasis from mere increase in growth rates to improvement in standards of living of those below the poverty line through increase in employment opportunitiesas well as better delivery systems to ensure access to intended benefits by intended beneficiaries (Nampoothiry, The Hindu, 3
rd
Dec., 2006).
1
Lecturer-cum-Assistant Director, Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy.
2
Professor & Head, Department of Social Work, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli-24,India.
 
Professional Social Work Education and Practice in India—Strengthening Inclusive…
 
139
 
The National Development Council (NDC) gave its unanimous endorsement to theEleventh Plan (2007–12) setting an accelerated economic growth of nine per cent per annum for the five-year period, with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh,asserting that inclusive economic development is “a national goal”. In his concludingremarks at the 54th NDC meeting with State Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister refuted the allegation that the “untied” resources for States were shrinking with acorresponding increase in centrally sponsored schemes and ‘tied’ assistance. He saidthe new approach helps to promote decentralised planning and monitoring whilesimultaneously increasing the resources available to specific sectors that are criticalfor enabling inclusive growth. The Prime Minister firmly said the Eleventh 11
th
Planis for the poor and it does not attempt to divide people on the basis of caste, creed or gender even as it pays special attention to the needs of these marginalised groups andtargets them in a precise way. The Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, Mr.Montek Singh Ahluwalia, denied that there is any sub-plan for minorities but said“we cannot achieve inclusive growth and the social harmony it will bring, if theminorities remain excluded” (The Hindu Business Line, New Delhi, Dec. 19, 2008).
PROFESSIONAL SOCIAL WORK AND INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT
Social exclusion (and inclusion) is a topic of major importance in contemporarysocial work and has been a core feature of social policy developments in the UK andEurope in the past decade. Michael Shepperd (2006) argues that the issue of socialexclusion lies at the very heart of social work and he examines the implications of this position for both theory and practice. He discusses a range of major themes insocial work, looking at how they reflect an underlying concern with social exclusion.They include empowerment, need, the exercise of authority, choice, evidence-based practice and reflexive practice. He also makes clear that even though the term ‘socialexclusion’ is of recent origin, it provides a framework for understanding the enduringthemes of social work.
Definition
The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in humanrelationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being.Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes atthe points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rightsand social justice are fundamental to social work.Social work in its various forms addresses the multiple, complex transactions between people and their environments. Its mission is to enable all people to developtheir full potential, enrich their lives, and prevent dysfunction. Professional socialwork is focused on problem solving and change. As such, social workers are changeagents in society and in the lives of the individuals, families and communities theyserve. Social work is an interrelated system of values, theory and practice.
 
140
 
Quality Enhancement of Social Work Profession in India: Issues and Challenges
 Values
Social work grew out of humanitarian and democratic ideals, and its values are basedon respect for the equality, worth, and dignity of all people. Since its beginnings over a century ago, social work practice has focused on meeting human needs anddeveloping human potential. Human rights and social justice serve as the motivationand justification for social work action. In solidarity with those who are dis-advantaged, the profession strives to alleviate poverty and to liberate vulnerable andoppressed people in order to promote social inclusion. Social work values areembodied in the profession’s national and international codes of ethics.
Theory
Social work bases its methodology on a systematic body of evidence-basedknowledge derived from research and practice evaluation, including local andindigenous knowledge specific to its context. It recognises the complexity of interactions between human beings and their environment, and the capacity of people both to be affected by and to alter the multiple influences upon them including bio- psychosocial factors. The social work profession draws on theories of humandevelopment and behaviour and social systems to analyse complex situations and tofacilitate individual, organisational, social and cultural changes.
Practice
Social work addresses the barriers, inequities and injustices that exist in society. Itresponds to crises and emergencies as well as to everyday personal and social problems. Social work utilises a variety of skills, techniques, and activities consistentwith its holistic focus on persons and their environments. Social work interventionsrange from primarily person-focused psychosocial processes to involvement in social policy, planning and development. These include counselling, clinical social work,group work, social pedagogical work, and family treatment and therapy as well asefforts to help people obtain services and resources in the community. Interventionsalso include agency administration, community organisation and engaging in socialand political action to impact social policy and economic development. The holisticfocus of social work is universal, but the priorities of social work practice will varyfrom country to country and from time to time depending on cultural, historical, andsocio-economic conditions. (International Federation of Social Workers, 2005).
MARGINALIZATION AND SOCIAL WORK 
In sociology,
marginalization
is the social process of becoming or being mademarginal (to relegate or confine to a lower social standing or outer limit or edge, as of social standing); “the marginalization of the underclass; “marginalization of literature” and many other are some examples. Marginalization involves people being

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