IFSW- Global Education Commission & IASSW Global Standards Taskforce
- Launch of the updated Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training
The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) are announcing the launch of the Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training.
The updated Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training is a product of the extensive global consultation that lasted for more than 18 months and included a wide range of social work academics, practitioners and experts by experience across 125 countries, represented by 5 Regional Associations and approximately 400 Universities and Further Education Organisations. In addition, members of the joint task force facilitated two international seminars involving service user representatives.
The consultation, analysis and development of the document was co-ordinated by a joint task group comprising the IFSW Global Education Commission and IASSW’s Global Standards Taskforce. The task group was chaired by Professor Vasilios Ioakimidis and Professor Dixon Sookraj.
The updated Global Standards were approved by the membership of IFSW and IASSW through the biennial General Meetings of the two organisations in the period July- August 2020.
- Rationale for change and aims of the new Standards
The social work education and practice landscape has changed significantly since 2004, when the first version of the standards was launched. The adoption of a new Global Definition of Social work (2014), the publication of the updated Global Social Work Statement of Ethical Principles (2018), and the new Global Agenda (2020) require that the Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training document also reflects broader changes and recent developments in global social work. These developments also include social work’s role in supporting bottom up development to meet the aspirations of the SDGs, ensuring countries that are new to social work have global peers to support the advancement of social work education free from colonial influences and creating platforms for Indigenous and local approaches to shape curricula and relevant courses.
The specific aims of the new Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training are:
- Ensure consistency in the provision of social work education while appreciating and valuing diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Ensure that Social Work education adheres to the values and policies of the profession as articulated by the IFSW and IASSW.
- Support and safeguard staﬀ, students and service users involved in the education process.
- Ensure that the next generation of social workers have access to excellent quality learning opportunities that also incorporate social work knowledge deriving from research, experience, policy and practice.
- Nurture a spirit of collaboration and knowledge transfer between diﬀerent social work schools and between social work education, practice and research.
- Support social work schools to become thriving, well-resourced, inclusive and participatory teaching and learning environments.
- Implementation and Mobilisation Strategy
IFSW and IASSW call upon their membership, national associations of social work and social work education providers to work closely towards implementing the new standards. The proposed Implementation and Mobilisation Strategy includes the following stages:
- Roll-out of the new documentation through a targeted dissemination strategy co-ordinated by IFSW and IASSW regional organisations. All members of both organisations are expected to have received the documentation by the end of December 2020. Relevant and dedicated sections in the websites of the two global organisations will be developed with immediate effect.
- Translation of the document into a wide range of languages covering the membership of the two organisations. IFSW and IASSW are committed to translate the document into their official languages by December 2020. National and Regional Associations are expected to co-ordinate the translation process in their respective constituencies by March 2021. This can be achieved through the mobilisation and recruitment of volunteers and/or professional translators. The final and official translations are approved by the National Associations and sent to the joint IFSW/IASSW Global Education Commission/Taskforce for archiving and monitoring.
- Knowledge Transfer and further consultation about the implementation process including the pedagogic impact, inclusion of service users and opportunities for amplification and enhancement are expected to commence during the June-September 2021, where most of the regional conferences are organised. Members of the original task group can be invited to present the rationale/ objectives of the news standards.
- Updating of Social Work Curricula across the globe. This process is expected to be complex and demanding, defined by the different regulatory and academic frameworks operating in each country. Inevitably the pace of implementing change will vary depending on the aforementioned parameters, but the aspiration of the global social work community would be to see a meaningful and substantial implementation process within a period of 4 years.
For purposes of monitoring and analysis, the IFSW and IASSW regional associations are expected to be collecting relevant information. Regional Associations will also develop plans for monitoring the implementation of the standards, taking their local and regional contexts into account. The IFSW Global Education Commission and IASSW Taskforce will conduct periodic surveys of individual and institutional members as part of the monitoring and feedback process.
The chairs of the IFSW Global Commission and the IASSW Taskforce will be responsible for coordinating the monitoring across the two associations.