Social Work and Social Development
Professional social workers have felt that their expertise in developing country should be used not only for providing ameliorative services for handicapped groups but also for generating development efforts among people.
When community development programs were introduced in rural areas, it was felt that professional social work had a significant contribution to make. However, a few professional social workers were employed in community development programs, especially as social education organizer, the contribution of professional social work was more indirect then direct. Professional social work educators contributed to the development of training program for the village level workers, social education organizers and block development officers.
Community development programs when they were started in the sixties were similar in nature though it was more substantial. The training of urban community organizers included many elements from professional social work and few school of social work was closely associated with the urban community development projects.
Family and child welfare programs and substantially the integrated child development services introduced by the central government provided yet another area of involvement although indirect in social development. Some of the schools of social work were involved in the training of the personnel of this project. The evaluation of these projects too was undertaken through these institutions. Similarly, schools of social work have been involved in the implementation of national service scheme which seeks to draw university student into development and welfare work on a voluntary basis.
In recent years professional social work has shown special interest in family planning programs, AIDS awareness program .It was in the mid sixties that the family planning in India was given new orientation emphasizing community education as its major instrument.
Many seminars and conferences of professional social workers have emphasized the need for major involvement in the area, interest in which undoubtedly been stimulated by the action taken by UN and other international agencies in providing funds for manpower development and research project. The international association of school of social work set up a special project involving several schools in Asia for preparing social workers to take up responsibilities connected with the implementation of family planning programs. However, the direct involvement of the profession in the family planning has been marginal. The professional social workers are also actively involved in the implementation of the programs like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNAREGA) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and other programs of national importance. However, their number throughout the country is less than the expectations.
The glimpse of professional social work has been observed recently during the movements for anticorruption and related to good governance. The indirect involvement of social workers by using social action method is widely admired.
The non involvement of professional social work at the direct service level in most welfare and developmental program is directly related to the organization of professional education at the graduate level. The jobs at the direct service level do not have salary scales which can attractive to those who graduate from school of social work. Some of this opts out of the social work profession many go in the field of labor management and the few who stay in the welfare field operate more as social administrator then as social worker. However, professional have been involved in formulation and administration of training courses for field level workers and many of these courses show the unmistakable imprint of professional approach. If training of workers at direct service level has gained some acceptance. It is no small measure due to effort of the professionals.
Thus, the impact of professional social work on the welfare scheme in India is more pervasive then the small number of professional s employed in the development and welfare field would seem to suggest.