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Influence of social work education on recognition of social work as a profession in India

This study, in the Indian context, deals with understanding how Social Work Education plays a vital role in the societal recognition of Social Work as an esteemed profession. India being a transition society, faces many challenges in professionalising social work, which has its origins in the Educational arena. Hence, the need of the hour is to address issues in Social Work Education thereby formulating measures to make Social Work a recognized profession in India. The difficulty lies in the lack of a uniform foundation in Social Work Education and the significant gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application which stems out because of Western influence on Social Work Education. Unlike India, other countries provide licence for practising Social Work and due to the absence of a professional licence, there is no scope for Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) in India. The lack of prominent Social Work Associations and Forums is another area of concern. The market-driven demands challenge the ethical base of the profession which can be corrected by focusing more on Social Work education. The Indian patriarchal society provides ample space for gender discrimination at the educational level which extends to the workplace too. Society's understanding of the difference between Philanthropy (service) and Social Work also plays a crucial role in recognising the profession. Despite many colleges offering Social Work courses in India, the degree is still under-recognized by society due to lack of awareness about the course and hazy career opportunities. These issues and challenges are studied in depth in this research and feasible suggestions are put forth in order to be recognised as a professional Social Worker in India.

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Harini V
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Journal article - open access
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