Social work is a professional activity that promotes human well-being and social justice. Social workers help people, families, groups, and communities enhance their individual and collective well-being. They do this by providing a range of services, including counseling, advocacy, education, and research.
Social work in Asia-Pacific is a diverse and dynamic field. It has a long history, dating back to the early 20th century. However, social work education and practice in the region have been influenced by both traditional and Western values and approaches.
In this interactive blog, we will explore the history of social work in Asia and the Pacific. We will look at the key developments in social work education and practice in the region, as well as the challenges and opportunities that social workers face today.
Early history of social work in Asia and the Pacific
The early history of social work in Asia and the Pacific was influenced by a number of factors, including:
The colonial era: Many European countries established colonies in Asia and the Pacific during the 19th and early 20th centuries. These colonial powers introduced their own social welfare systems to their colonies, which influenced the development of social work in the region.
The rise of nationalism: In the early 20th century, many Asian countries gained independence from their colonial rulers. During this period, there was a growing emphasis on social development and social justice. This led to the establishment of social work education programs and social welfare agencies in many Asian countries.
Religious and cultural influences: The religious and cultural traditions of Asia and the Pacific have also played a role in the development of social work in the region. For example, the Buddhist concept of compassion and the Confucian concept of social harmony have influenced the values and practices of social workers in Asia and the Pacific.
Timeline of the History of Social Work in the Asia-Pacific
1900: The first social work school in the Asia-Pacific is established in Tokyo, Japan.
1910: The first social work school in China is established in Shanghai.
1920: The first social work school in India is established in Bombay.
1930: The first social work school in Southeast Asia is established in Singapore.
1940: Social work plays a key role in post-war reconstruction in Asia and the Pacific.
1950: The International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) is founded.
1951: The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) is founded.
1952: The Asia-Pacific Association of Social Workers (APSW) is founded.
1960: The first social work school in the Pacific Islands is established in Fiji.
1961: The APSW holds its first regional conference in Tokyo, Japan.
1967: The APSW establishes its permanent secretariat in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
1970: The APSW adopts its first code of ethics.
1975: The APSW establishes its regional education committee.
1980: The APSW establishes its regional research committee.
1981: The APSW holds its first regional conference on social work education in Manila, Philippines.
1983: The APSW establishes its regional social policy committee.
1990: The APSW adopts its regional standards for social work education.
1991: The APSW holds its first regional conference on social work research in Bangkok, Thailand.
1993: The APSW establishes its regional social work human rights committee.
2000: The APSW adopts its regional code of ethics for social work.
2001: The APSW holds its first regional conference on social work in practice in Beijing, China.
2003: The APSW establishes its regional social work disaster management committee.
2010: The APSW adopts its regional standards for social work practice.
2011: The APSW holds its first regional conference on social work and climate change in Seoul, South Korea.
2013: The APSW establishes its regional social work and migration committee.
2020: The APSW adopts its regional code of conduct for social work.
Key Developments in Social Work Education and Practice in the Asia-Pacific
Social work education
Social work education in the Asia-Pacific has been influenced by both traditional and Western values and approaches. In the early days, social work education was largely focused on the development of skills and knowledge for working with individuals and families. However, in recent years, social work education has become more focused on social justice and human rights.
Today, there are over 1,000 social work schools in Asia and the Pacific. These schools offer a variety of programs, including undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work as well as continuing education programs for social workers.
Social work practice
Social work practice in the Asia-Pacific region is also diverse and dynamic. Social workers in the region work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private practice. They provide a wide range of services, including counseling, advocacy, education, and research.
Social work is a vital profession that plays an important role in promoting human well-being and social justice in the Asia-Pacific region. Social workers in the region are working to address a wide range of social challenges, including poverty, inequality, and climate change.
I encourage you to learn more about the history and practice of social work in the Asia-Pacific region. Social work is a rewarding profession that can make a real difference in the lives of others.
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