Today, the prime motive of students all over India, given the bad employment situation throughout the country is to get a placement and secure their future. Unemployment has infested all the major sectors of the country and a corporate placement not only offers immediately security of the future but also a handsome salary. Along with the same comes an unparalleled glory that sways youngsters like anything. The same runs with government jobs. It is because of the safety and security that government jobs offer to aspirants that people invest years after years preparing for the same. The perks and security of the conventional jobs that are usually available in India are the reason why often, we forget that we as members of the society, owe something to the society. And due to the dearth of high paying jobs offering significant security to the people, people often tend to believe that there is nothing else that will ever secure their future, when this is definitely not true.
When we talk about social workers, the first idea that we’re met with is that social workers are people who are not very skilled or would have been good at studies. We expect them to be people who could not go very far when it comes to professional education. But the world has come very far from what it used to be. Today, a large chunk of power in designing public policy is exercised by powerful NGOs mainly organizations which do not have any official backing as such but are deeply involved with the people at the ground level. Owing to their access to the people for the betterment of which they constantly strive, they are well aware of the ground realities and help (and sometimes, coerce) the government to shape their policies in certain ways.
With the growing impact that NGOs and such other organizations have on our daily lives, the quality of people who associate with such organisations and do social work also needs to be high. The expectations that social workers had to meet in the century bygone is greatly surpassed by what social workers need to do in this century.
Before we move on to learn how to become a social worker in India, we must first understand the one true meaning of social work / workers – Social workers are people who work hands-on with individuals and communities and deal with issues that arrest them on a larger scale such as poverty, education, health or crime related areas. Those who work in these fields largely work for the betterment of the those who are deprived of resources largely available to others, mainly the poor and the needy.
There is no law that demands that a social worker must have a certain degree in order for him to be able to associate with an organization. The eligibility criteria for professionals to associate with them is largely decided by themselves. But in the world that we live in today, there are certain professional courses that if a social worker has completed and has earned certain degrees, will take him far in his career. One such course is the Bachelors in Social Work.
The Bachelor’s in Social Work largely deals with concepts of social work, its methods, sociology, psychology, human development and so on. The motive of this course is to help the students develop a holistic perspective of society and ensure that when the students pass out, not only do they have a solid understanding of the concepts taught during the course, but are also highly motivated to go beyond the bounds of their comfort zones and help those who really need their help. The idea behind this course is to help students learn that each minute of their contribution on the ground is going to result in changes, not every part of which is measurable in concrete terms. A B.A. counterpart of this course is B.A. in Social Work and both this course and Bachelor’s in Social Work are of 3 years course and can be pursued immediately after completing 12th standard exams.
Some of the top colleges that offer the Bachelor’s in Social Work course are TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences – Tuljapur Campus), Loyola College of Social Sciences, Deparmtment of Social Work, Mangalore University, College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan, Madras School of Social Work, Chennai.
While one can start working immediately after earning the bachelor’s degree in social work, often a lot of BSW degree holders opt for higher education in this field and decide to go for a Master’s Degree in the field of Social Work and this offers them with the opportunity to come closer with the subject. However, it is not necessary that to pursue Masters in Social Work or M.A. in Social Work, one has to compulsorily pursue Bachelor’s in Social Work. One can pursue this course after completing any Bachelor’s course. This is mainly a 2 years course and candidates must essentially have completed graduation in any subject.
After pursuing MSW, one can opt for still higher education and pursue a Ph.D degree or M.Phil degree.
Today, the industry around social work has become bigger than ever. News articles pertaining to GreenPeace and PETA every now and then often highlights the importance that social workers have in society. Today, this industry demands people who are not only passionate about their work but are also ready to dispense with the perks and comforts that would have been ordinarily available to them had they chosen a corporate life or a secure government job.
Social workers are in great demand at hospitals, health clinics, counseling centres, mental hospitals and so on. They can also play a great role with organisations which directly deal with issues pertaining to human rights. Having specialized knowledge, they can get into academics and help poor and needy students avail education and be presented with an opportunity to grow and prosper. A great demand for qualified social workers is with NGOs who work for the development of communities at large. If you are overly ambitious and not easily satisfied, you can choose to associate with bigger organizations at both national and international levels. Such organisations include WHO and its various organs such as UNICEF.
Apart from the run of the mill roles that social workers may play, an emerging sector which demands highly skilled and passionate social workers is CSR. Basically, CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility is a new and emerging sector, mandated by law (Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013) wherein big companies are to dedicate at least 2% of their net profits in the last three years to CSR if they meet the benchmark under the stated provision of law. Companies often have their own group of individuals who take care of their CSR obligations or may pair up with dedicated independent CSR implementing agencies and in both these cases, social workers play a very significant role.
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