||WHY BE RESEARCH MINDED?
FOURTH REVIEWED DISCUSSION DOCUMENT:
GLOBAL QUALIFYING STANDARDS FOR SOCIAL
WORK EDUCATION AND TRAINING
IASSW November 2003
At the joint IASSW/IFSW Conference in Montreal, Canada in July 2000
The International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)
and the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
set up a joint initiative called the Global Minimum Standards Committee.
A draft document was produced, subject to consultation and a number
of reviews. The current version informs ongoing debate with regard to
the development of global standards. An extract on the core curricula
is reproduced here.
4. GUIDELINES ON CORE CURRICULA
In respect core curricula, schools should aspire toward the following
standards deemed to be acceptable at the global level:
4.1 An identification of, and selection for inclusion in the programme,
curricula as determined by local, national and/or regional needs and
4.2 A description of the objectives of each of the core curricula components,
an explanation of their sequencing and, if the course or module is not
taught in the school, an identification of the department responsible
for teaching it.
4.3 Notwithstanding the provision of 4.1 there are certain core curricula
that may be seen to be universally applicable. Thus the school should
ensure that student social workers, by the end of their exit level Social
Work qualification, have exposure to the following core curricula which
are organised into four conceptual components:
4.3.1 Domain of Social Work
- A critical understanding of how socio-structural inadequacies, discrimination,
oppression, and social, political and economic injustices impact human
functioning and development at all levels, including the global.
- Knowledge of human behaviour and the social environment, with particular
emphasis on the person-in-environment transaction, life-span development
and the interaction among biological, psychological, socio-structural
and cultural factors in shaping human development and behaviour.
- Knowledge of the social welfare policies and services of the locality,
country and/or region.
- A critical understanding of social work's origins and purposes.
- Understanding of country specific social work origins and development.
- Sufficient knowledge of related occupations and professions to
facilitate inter-professional collaboration and teamwork.
4.3.2 Domain of the Social Worker:
- The development of the critically self-reflective practitioner,
who is able to practice within the value perspective of the social
- The recognition of the relationship between personal life experiences
and personal value systems and social work practice.
- The appraisal of national, regional and/or international social
work codes of ethics and their applicability to context specific realities.
- Preparation of social workers within a holistic biopsychosocial
spiritual framework, with generalist skills to enable practice in
a range of contexts with diverse ethnic, cultural and racial groups,
and with both men and women.
4.3.3 Methods of Practice:
- Practice skills in, and knowledge of, assessment and intervention
for the purposes of developmental, protective, preventive and/or therapeutic
- The application of social work values, ethical principles, knowledge
and skills to confront inequality, and social, political and economic
- Knowledge of, and skills in, social work research, including ethical
use of relevant research paradigms, and critical appreciation of the
use of research in social work practice.
- Supervised fieldwork education, with due consideration to the provisions
of Item 3 above.
4.3.4 Paradigm of the Profession:
Of particular current salience to social work education, training and
practice, are the following epistemological frameworks (which are not
mutually exclusive) that should inform the core curricula:
- An acknowledgement and recognition of the dignity, worth and the
uniqueness of all human beings.
- Recognition of the inter-connectedness that exists within and across
all systems at micro, mezzo and macro levels.
- An emphasis on the importance of advocacy and changes in socio-structural,
political and economic conditions that disempower, marginalize and
- The capacity-building and empowerment of individuals, families,
groups, organisations and communities through a human-centred developmental
- Problem-solving and anticipatory socialisation though an understanding
of the normative developmental life cycle, and expected life tasks
and crises in relation to age related influences, with due consideration
to socio-cultural expectations.
- The assumption, identification and recognition of strengths and
potential of all human beings.
- An appreciation and respect for diversity in relation to race, culture,
religion, ethnicity, linguistic origin, gender, sexual orientation
and differential abilities.