Aug 28, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The University of Guyana’s (UG) Department of Sociology, Social Work Unit, along with key national and international stakeholders, on Tuesday August 24, 2021, started strategic discussions aimed at reviewing and enhancing the institution’s Master of Social Work (MSW) programme. This, according to release issued by the institution, is in keeping with the university’s 2040 Blueprint which essentially aligns UG as a key national development partner.
The virtual retreat, which ran for three days, was declared open under the theme, “Professional Social Work in Guyana: Reimagining education and practice to achieve planned change and promote social, economic and environmental justice, and human rights.” It was also held in celebration of 50 years of social work education in Guyana.
Students, social workers, educators and various key stakeholders locally, regionally, and internationally were engaged on ways to further enhance the Master in Social Work programme offered by UG.
Discussions were also had on establishing the role the University of Guyana through the Department of Sociology Social Work Unit will play in ensuring the enactment of Social Work Legislation, Licensure, and establishment of an Accreditation Council.
Delivering the feature address, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Honourable Dr. Vindhya Persaud, said: “Fifty years ago the University of Guyana responded to a need that existed and launched the Diploma in Social Work. This programme has produced generations of social workers, who currently form the body of our social workforce. With great wisdom from the University of Guyana, the programme morphed into a Bachelor’s Degree, and in 2017 the Master of Social Work was launched under a servicing arrangement with York University and support from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).”
The Minister noted that the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and many other institutions in both the private and public sectors have benefitted from the hundreds of students who graduated from this programme.
She highlighted that the profession of social work is multi-dimensional and requires an inter-sectoral approach to re-imagine the education and practice of social work in Guyana and urged the participants to seriously explore ways in which the programme at UG could be improved.
University of Guyana’s Vice-Chancellor, XI, Prof. Paloma Mohamed-Martin, in her remarks recognised the contributions of the many stakeholders, locally and internationally; whoat contributed and continue to contribute, to the Social Work Programme at the University. In particular those who contributed are UNICEF and early pioneers like Sybil Patterson, Patrice LaFleur, Jospehine Whitehead, Dr. Janice Jackson, Barbara Thomas Holder, and Christine King, to name a few, along with others who, according to the release, were specially honoured.
The Vice Chancellor noted, in particular, the unwavering support from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, Prof. Barbara Heron and her team from York University, UNICEF, and the team from the Department of Sociology from UG.
The VC explained: “Our second aspirational goal in the 2040 Blueprint is UG being a centre for excellence for some very specific areas. One of the exciting emerging areas that we are developing is human resiliency systems. It has become very important for us as human beings to not only be physically resilient but to be mentally and emotionally resilient in every way. This is why the University of Guyana has framed its resiliency programme as human resiliency systems because we want to look at all of the systems.” She also said that this review is programmed at a time when the University had launched its Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Research (CeBRES) which will teach and research psychology, criminology, social work and psychiatry and whose dedicated counselling centre will roll out UG’s new inclusion policy, which emphasises strongly students with mental health and physical vulnerabilities.
Head of the Department of Sociology, Mr. Andrew Hicks, in his remarks said: “We are deeply appreciative for the work of our local partners and other members of our local academic community who have remained steadfast in their support for our academic activities as a department. I am particularly delighted for the enthusiasm and interest of our partners in the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security under the leadership of the distinguished Minister, who is also a former member of the faculty of the University of Guyana, Minister Vindhya Persaud.”
Mr. Hicks also acknowledged the support of Prof. Barbara Heron and her team from York University in Canada whom he said demonstrated consistent passion and commitment to the efforts of the University of Guyana in providing graduate social work education to local practitioners.
In her brief remarks, Prof. Heron pointed out that in spite of the challenges brought on by COVID-19 which affected her team’s ability to travel to Guyana to teach the new cohort of students in face-to-face mode, there is an opportunity now to “really give some thought to how the programme continues and I really look forward to participating with everyone.”
The MSW programme was implemented in August 2017. The University’s Department of Sociology currently collaborates with York University as a strategic partner to deliver the teaching aspect of the MSW programme. The programme was developed in response to the prevailing demands from the government, the international community and non-governmental agencies. Stakeholders saw the need for higher levels of skills amongst practitioners in order to effectively respond to the needs of persons. Key partners include; the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, the Child Care & Protection Agency, ChildLinK, and UNICEF.
According to the Coordinator of the programme, Mrs. Debbie Hopkinson, the intent of this virtual retreat is two-fold: Firstly it seeks to reevaluate the Department of Sociology, Social Work Unit’s programme relevance in the changing landscape of the employment industry with the aim of introducing additional modules that are fit for purpose, and secondly, it is a critical juncture to undertake a review of the Social Work Standards and commence preliminary discussions on Social Work Legislation, Licensure and accreditation in Guyana.
Mrs. Hopkinson noted: “Having trained an estimated 70 students, it is now an opportune time to review this programme to ascertain how it is meeting the needs of our stakeholders. It is also critical at this juncture to determine how the curricula in its present construct are relevant to the new and emerging needs of Guyana.”
Dr. Paulette Henry, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences thanked all the stakeholders for their support and their commitment to ensuring that the Master of Social Work Programme continues to improve.
Director of Children Services, Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, Ms. Ann Greene, and retired educator, Ms. Sylvia Conway, were honoured for their years of selfless service in the area of social work.
Ms. Greene, a driving force and advocate for the protection of children’s welfare in Guyana, has been in the Social Work field for over 50 years. “For me, it is a privilege to have served as a social worker. People ask me, I say I never see what I did as a job, it was never a job, I have never worked one day in my life. What I have done all the years, it was a mission I was on. To me, it is a mission and I’m still on it today,” Ms. Greene related.
Ms. Conway has served as a teacher, lecturer, and strong advocate for human rights for several years. She currently sits on Guyana’s Adoption Board, the Parole Board, DDL Foundation, and the St Anne’s Orphanage Board. Ms. Conway was unable to join the ceremony but recognition was given to her for her contributions in the area of social work in Guyana.
Persons interested in applying for any of the University’s degrees in Social work, psychology or psychiatry can use the following link to do so: Associate of Social Science (Social Work) – https://uog.edu.gy/srms/departments/65/programmes/778/details; Bachelor of Social Science (Social Work) – https://uog.edu.gy/srms/departments/65/programmes/781/details; Bachelor of Social Science (Sociology) – https://uog.edu.gy/srms/departments/65/programmes/94/details; Master in Social Work -https://uog.edu.gy/srms/departments/65/programmes/856/details
Oct 25, 2021Kaieteur News- At the recent elections of the East Bank Cricket Association (EBCA) held at the Farm/Herstelling NDC Office, Puneet Jaigopaul was elected unopposed as President while Abhilash Dookie...
Oct 25, 2021
Oct 25, 2021
Oct 24, 2021
Oct 24, 2021
Oct 24, 2021
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – It is nothing short of shocking to learn that, despite the fact that the world... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]