United Academy

BASW: Everything I wish someone had told me

Binisha Maharjan

June 29, 2023
Last updated August 07, 2023
BASW: Everything I wish someone had told me
KMC Lalitpur

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) was a three-year academic program under Tribhuvan University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. It updated its program to a four-year course in 2019. Social Work is a course that focuses on practical knowledge more than theoretical. The primary goal is to provide general skilled human resources for Social Work in Nepal. Furthermore, it seeks to cultivate a sense of human rights and social justice in students.

Here in this blog, talking about my experience, I have summarized things aspiring social work students should know about the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) program : 

Social work V/S Sociology

Although the subjects of sociology and social Work overlap, the primary difference between the two is that social work advocates for improving existing social conditions and institutions. Sociology studies how various social institutions, such as marriage and educational systems, reinforce cultural beliefs, roles, and customs. Sociology also identifies and analyzes issues that arise as a result of inequities. Social Work is a form of intervention and support for people who face injustices such as poverty and abuse.

Social Work is a discipline, not a Profession.

As a social work student, you should pursue a career in Social Work. Different from other countries, Social Work is not recognized in Nepal. Because practitioners in Nepal cannot form a National Level Council or Association of Social Workers, the government of Nepal has classified it as a discipline. People need to understand who is a social worker and who is not.

Volunteering experience

Students are assigned to social service organizations or any field for a traineeship throughout their college years. Students put their theoretical knowledge into practice and learn how to write a detailed study report. As a trainee, students must work under the supervision of the university's and the agency's concerned authorities, with regular reporting in accordance with the rules of the given organization. Trainees must learn and take responsibility for active documentation activities: proposal development, record keeping, correspondence, event reporting, and voluntarily participating in events related to assisting clients and the agency in everyday activities.

Volunteering provides students with familiarity with social work practice. Agencies are the practical place to apply classroom teachings to fieldwork practice which helps students achieve skills, i.e., interpersonal skills and hard skills like documentation and MS Office that will help students in their professional life. Working in I/NGOs, students can explore career opportunities in social development and build relationships with professionals and agencies. Moreover, students can work closely with society and intervene in social problems at micro, mezzo, and macro levels. It helps students develop leadership qualities and creative and critical thinking skills. 

Group Assignments 

Anyone who has worked on a group project knows how inconvenient it can be. Someone must be more timely, pay attention, or refuse to put in any effort and expect others to do all the Work. And if you think that group projects are not so bad, you can consider yourself Lucky. 

In Social Work, the teaching faculty will divide the students into several groups and assign them writing reports/papers as project work based on fieldwork or secondary/archival resources focusing on social institutions; family, marriage, economy, social inequality, social change, etc. Students are assigned more than one group work in the form of presentations and seminar papers. Working in a group teaches teamwork and helps you bond with your classmates, but sometimes it is difficult because of conflicting ideas and disagreements between group members. 

Rural Immersion Camp 

Rural Immersion Camp is a mandatory week-long program of the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program. The social work students are expected to instill exposure to community living, indigenous knowledge, and day-to-day challenges of a distant local during the camp. It is an essential component of practice learning.

It exposes students to rural life, its problems, and issues and enables them to plan, organize, and carry out relevant programs. It also assists students in developing a habit of participatory, reflective, and analytical learning. Faculty members accompanying the students during the week-long camp guide them through the process.

Research Paper 

Under the supervision of assigned faculty, each must submit an independent research report/paper on a specific topic analyzed from a sociological perspective in the format specified by the department/campus. The student will present this report at the end of the academic year in a viva organized by the department/ campus. This viva and the student's report will serve as the foundation for the final evaluation of the specific points allotted to this practicum.

Research is a long process, and it can be stressful and ambiguous without the guidance of a supervisor. Thus, keeping in touch with your teachers and asking them questions regarding the subject matter is essential. A research paper not only determines the practical marks for examinations but also plays a vital role in your curriculum Vitae if you want to find a job in a social organization. 

Job prospects 

Finding a job is challenging, as there are selective jobs for a social work graduate, and the competition is fierce. You get job opportunities in government, non-government, education, and social sectors (NGOs, INGOs). You can work in different designations. You can work in Academic Institutions as a teacher, lecturer, etc. You can also work as a researcher in Research Institutions and consultancies.

Read: https://edusanjal.com/blog/skills-fresh-graduates-should-acquire/ to know the skills you can develop before looking for a job.

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