Exploring on the Importance for Social Workers To Be Trained & Qualified Professionally
According to the Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW), the definition of social work in Malaysia context is ‘a profession guided by a body of knowledge, values, and skills, utilising a bio-psycho-social approach, to facilitate optimal social functioning of individuals, families, groups, and communities.’ To put it simply, social workers improve people’s lives by helping with social and interpersonal difficulties, promoting wellbeing and human rights.
In June, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) organised a sharing session themed ‘Equipping for Holistic Social Work Competency’ with Malaysian church leaders and head of ministries.
Professor Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria, Trustee of Yayasan Kajian dan Pembangunan Masyarakat; and two MCKL Diploma in Social Work alumni, Jonathan Benedict and Jacqualine (Jackie) Yap were invited to share their thoughts and experiences on the subject matter. Angela Pok, CEO of MCKL, was present as well to thank and welcome the guests.
Professor Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria credited that the churches played a major and developmental role in the formative period to help the society and community – who received assistance irrespective of their religion or belief through the services that many Christian workers are providing.
“Social workers’ competency and qualifications needs to be professionally validated, so that their contributions are made worthwhile. This recognition aspect should not be overlooked in the context of nation development. Hence the standards of professional competency need to be increased in tandem with how the society and relevant authorities would view and expect for social workers to be qualified,” he said.
Datuk Dr. Denison also emphasised that it is important for the younger generation of social workers to be trained in a professional academic setting, at institutions such as MCKL that offer such an accredited study programme.
MCKL Alumni Shares Experience in Social Work
MCKL alumni, Jonathan Benedict and Jacqualine (Jackie) Yap were invited to share their experience taking up the Diploma in Social Work programme with MCKL. The sharing session was moderated by Tina Yap.
When Jonathan first started in social work six years ago, he was curious on how and why things must be done specifically before he signed up to study the diploma.
“As I was studying, I gained a better understanding and wider perspectives on why and how things need to be done in such manner. Studying the diploma was challenging, but it ignited my passion and it was a monumental character development for me,” said Jonathan.
Jackie is a dedicated social worker for 17 years. She was concerned that she would need a license to continue as a social worker if the Social Work Profession Bill were to be passed. That motivated her to sign up for the diploma programme after she understood how it would help her from a professional and personal capacity.
“Taking the diploma programme helped me understood the theological, principle, law, and the system behind the intricacies of social work. If you know how to do it professionally, you will know how to advocate and help the community and society effectively and more confidently.”
Whatever a student’s motivation for studying social work, getting the right training and qualification are keys to shaping his or her outlook and preparing them to enter the profession. The ‘how’ of studying social work is just as important as the ‘why’.
MCKL is the first private tertiary education provider in Malaysia to offer the Diploma in Social Work programme.
The accredited programme is conducted in English language, and its study modules are benchmarked according to international standards. The course is available in full time, part time and micro-credential mode. Such options allow working adults and frontline workers in humanitarian fields the flexibility to practise or enhance their knowledge on selected areas of social work practise.
To provide a more holistic study and practise experience to students, the programme partners with Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW), Yayasan Kajian dan Pembangunan Masyarakat (YKPM), Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC), HISTEAM, and Persatuan Pekerja Prihatin dan Pekerja Sosial Kristian Malaysia (PPPPSKM).