CHECK IT OUT! APASWE No.04 (2013-2015)

No.4 (2013-2015) from President Office March,2014

International social work capacity building workshop
Response of Social Work Education to Social issues in Vietnam: International Perspectives and Indigenous Response

Le Thi Quy and Nguyen Kim Dung
Thang Long University, Hanoi, Vietnam

On 18 and19 January, 2014 Thang Long University, Hanoi, Vietnam held an international workshop on social work capacity building: response of Social Work Education to Social issues in Vietnam: international Perspectives and Indigenous Response. This workshop was organized by International Association of Schools of Social Work(IASSW), Asia & Pacific Association of Social Work Education(APASWE) and Thang Long University, Vietnam Federation of Vocational Training & Social Work, University of Labour and Social Affairs, Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Education, Hanoi, Vietnam. This workshop was supported by International Association of Schools of Social Work, UNICEF Vietnam and Thang Long University.

Participants of workshop included 32 professors come from different continents and 250 others who are from universities, colleagues, social work centers in Vietnam and Ministry of Training and Education, Ministry of Labor, Invalid and Social Affair (MOLISA), Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism. Attending this workshop, the participants had chance to listen reports from international and Vietnamese experts and discussed about opportunities and challenges of social work and future plan for collaboration among countries

The workshop consisted of two plenary sessions and four parallel sessions. In the first plenary session, Professor Vimla Nadkarni, President of IASSW, and Founder Dean, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India had a profound presentation about social work and global perspectives. The presentation pressed and analyzed difficulties which social work is facing now. These difficulties include unemployment, people losing their homes, development projects which are not direct for the people; natural disasters, urbanization, ecological issues and the environment. In this presentation, Vimla emphasized on the number of one billion poor people who are being marginalized in society as a result of gender inequality and social inequality. In the end of the presentation, the professor focused on analyzing solutions to address difficulties by building models of poverty reduction for residents, improving education and enhancing exchange programs between countries which provide resources to learn and exchange experiences and discuss specific solutions "Re-establish ourselves."

After that, social work experience from other continents, including North America and the Caribbean region, European region Africa region, Asian & Pacific region were also presented. On behalf of European region, professor Susan Laurence - President of European Association of Schools of Social Work shared historical situation as well as the process of social movements in the region. For example, Social Charter of the Council of Europe in 1951 had terms which mentioned social work and the change in social policy in 1970 to ensure equality in terms of civil right for everyone. In 1899, the first Social work University was established in Amsterdam and started to spread to other countries. In the speech, the professor emphasized the enhancement of social knowledge and morality has brought a major change in many countries.

Then, representative for the African region of IASSW, Doctor Janestic Mwende Twikirize, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Makerere University, Uganda also had an overview report about social work situation in the religion. With over one billion population (2011) in which all most are under fifth teen years old, the rate of the poor who are living under 1USD/ day is increasing; only one person get a job from 50 graduates; other social issues such as high injection rate, 21% of children have been orphaned, drug abuse, domestic violence which also need social intervention. Social work was imported from Europe, the United States, but its root appeared earlier from African community ( It was local mutual affection tradition). However, social work programs at University are still general; research and public work are still limited; 73 % of East African students used teaching materials obtained from outside Africa such as America and European; many lecturers do not have a social work degree and practical concept about social work. Activities which create income for children, small social enterprises, vocational training for children who do not go to school are also limited; social status of social workers are not paid enough intention; the net work among social organizations are still weak.

Professor Mark E. Rodgers, President of North American and Caribbean Association Schools of Social Work, Dean and Professor, Marywood University, College of Health and Human Services, USA shared social work materials and methods. The professor also confirmed the important role in promoting a global agenda in equal relationship. Since 1992, North American and Caribbean Association Schools of Social Work has been implementing exchange student and scholar programs from America. Canada not only tested and certified but also provided the information. According to the professor, social work in this area is facing many challenges such as as disaster rescue, regional conflicts, poor countries, the status of women, abuse of children and training programs after disasters

Doctor Fentiny Nugroho, President of Asian and Pacific Association for Social Work Education, Chair of Expert Board, Indonesian Association of Social Work Education had an overview presentation on social work in the religion. According to Doctor, training social work at Asian and Pacific is being internationalized. In the area, there are some social welfare universities in Korean and Indonesia in which they promote community to eliminate poverty. However, along with some positive signs, there are still many challenges in social work such as social work has not been widely recognized, encroached with volunteers. The way of applying English materials and western skills are not suitable with Asia’s culture.

Regarding Vietnamese social work experience, professors and participants also had reports sharing social work. Professor Dang Canh Khanh, Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Thang Long University, Ha Noi had an overview presentation about social work in Vietnam. According to professor, social strategies need to be improved and developed alongside with economic strategies. In Vietnam, there is a big number of social workers but social work education and training are still limited and is not paid enough attention. Social work curriculum is not uniform and it has raised a question: social work is a profession, a charity work or social justice.

Responses of Social Work Education to Critical Social Issues in Vietnam is mentioned. All specific social reports about human trafficking, women migrant , domestic violence, disability people as well as other issues were also discussed. Concerning domestic violence, Professor Le Thi Quy, Board member of VASW and Thang Long University, Vietnam had an presentation on “Community model” in domestic violence prevention. In the speech, the Professor introduced a new model in Vietnam which is to spread communication, establish rapid intervention groups, peace house, clubs, hotline and social worker groups at local community to address on time domestic violence under support from local authority. As the result, it reduced up to 80-90% of the violence, put an end to 100% of cases which is resulted in serious injury to the victim, family economic development.

Besides that, social work with Heath care was also discussed by Prof. Pham Huy Dung, Vice-President, Thang Long University, Vietnam. The professor presented on the need of social work for not only patients but also other staff who are working in hospitals.

Concerning social work training and education in Vietnam, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Thi Thuan - Board member of VASW and Hanoi University of Labour and Social Affairs presented that it is very important for Vietnam to learn experience from international partners and apply properly in Vietnam context. She also emphasized on the importance of practice on social work since Vietnam has around 60000 people who are working on social work but they need to be retrained. Doctors Nguyen Xuan Mai and Nguyen Trung Hai, who from Hanoi University of Labour and Social Affairs also presented on situation of education on Social Work in Vietnam as today.

Another important part of this workshop is the way ahead of social work education and practice in Vietnam and opportunities for international collaboration. The international and Vietnamese delegates discussed to build an agenda for social work training. In particular, Vietnam should work with ASEAN countries and engage in social work groups in Southeast Asia to meet demand for social work practice Besides, joining the Association of Asian Pacific Social Work Training is imperative. Along with that, the development of exchange programs, teachers, students between countries also need to be conducted and promoted in future.