Road to becoming a social doctor

2014-04-05

Sangita Shrestha

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While many students these days tend to study technical subjects as there are plenty of job opportunities soon after they complete the course, some opt to study different courses in humanities and social sciences. Among various subjects, Social Work is one course that is getting quite popular among today’s youth. As such Tribhuvan University (TU), Kathmandu University (KU) and Purbanchal University (PU) are offering this course at various levels.

About the course

Social Work deals with scientific theories which comprise related topics of society like economics, politics, philosophy, sociology and more. Father S Arulanandam SJ, Head of Department of BSW at St Xavier’s College explains, “Social Work focuses on action and justice,” further adding, “And Social Work is different from Social Service or Sociology where Social Work is not a charity work. It focuses on justice and believes in giving to others what they lack which belongs to them.”

Similarly Prajina Sapkota, student of MSW Ist Year at St Xavier’s shares, “Social Work is the scientific study of society and its need. It helps to equip future professional social workers with tools and techniques while dealing in the practical world. And social workers are social doctors of the society.”

According to Fr Arulanandam, those who have a heart to involve with people and have a strong desire to serve people and bring change in society, are perfect to study this subject.

The difference

Different colleges affiliated to these three universities are offering Social Work course to students. TU and KU have been offering Social Work as a course in the undergraduate level while PU has both undergraduate and graduate programme. St Xavier’s College is the only college affiliated to KU with Social Work in Bachelor’s level. It also has undergraduate programme affiliated to TU and graduate programme affiliated to PU. Meanwhile, under the umbrella of Nepal School of Social Science, Kadambari Memorial College has undergraduate programme affiliated to PU and Nepal School of Social Work affiliated to TU.

But is there any difference between the course contents available in these institutions?

According to Keshav Nepal, academic co-ordinator of Nepal School of Social Work, the undergraduate programme of PU specialises in Social Work. And those who want to pursue Social Work affiliated to TU in the undergraduate level have to study one additional major subject along with Social Work.

About this Nepal informs, “Because of the provision of two major subjects in TU in Bachelor’s level, at Nepal School of Social Work, we have Rural Development subject parallel to Social Work.”

Moreover, at St Xavier’s those who pursue BA in Social Work can choose from one subject from among subjects like English, Journalism and Sociology besides Social Work, as per Fr Arulanandam. He adds, “But BSW is completely focused on the subject Social Work only.”

About the difference Sapkota who pursued her BASW from St Xavier’s expresses, “The course in BASW only touches the surface level of Social Work while BSW and MSW give a vast knowledge as they specialise in the Social Work subject only.”

Scope

Every society is comprised of different types of people and the problem they face are also different. So, the graduates of Social Work can serve in various fields in society as per his/her interest.

Fr Arulanandam opines, “One can opt for a career as teacher, researcher, administrator, counsellor, manager and so on.”

Moreover, Pradipti Bogati, BSW IIIrd Year at St Xavier shares, “One can choose from jobs of case management to counselling to psychotherapy to human service management to advocacy along with teaching.”

Meanwhile, Nepal explains, “The students need to do frequent field works and they have to work as trainee in various organisations for some months. During these periods, the students tend to build a good rapport and link which helps them to get a job in similar organisations instantly after completion of their studies.”

Challenges

“The theories are basically ideas which are non judgmental but while applying those theories in practice, in society where people are judgmental, students face difficulties,” Fr Arulanandam shares about the existing challenge.

Bogati further adds, “We study about confidentiality and not being emotionally attached to the client but as we are still in the learning process, we sometimes have to break that confidentiality of the client and ask for suggestions from our teachers.”

Moreover the tendency of regarding Social Work as similar to other subjects like Sociology and Social Service is another challenge, as per Nepal who further adds, “Due to the high ambition of getting jobs in UN agencies soon after completing their studies, many opt to study Social Work. But once they start field works that is a must while studying Social Work, some find it difficult to pursue their study and often tend to leave in the middle.”

Eligibility criteria

For BSW at St Xavier’s College, the students need to pass +2 or equivalent from any faculty with a minimum of 50 per cent. For BASW, students must have passed with minimum of second division at +2 from any

faculty. But if they opt for English and Journalism as their majors, they should have studied these subjects at the intermediate level. If they have not studied these subjects in their intermediate, then, they are required to pass these papers before the end of third year of BA to receive a BA degree. Meanwhile for MSW, the students must have completed Bachelors degree with a minimum of second division.

Moreover for Bachelors degree at Kadambari Memorial College and Nepal School of Social, the students must have successful completion of +2 or equivalent from any faculty.

(Source: The Himalayantimes published in 8 Jan)