Experts in social work meet to revamp existing curriculum to fit for the future

#MURANGWA Darius 18-04-2023

Academics and researchers from Oxford Brookes University in the UK in collaboration with their counterpart from Five East African universities are convened at the University of Rwanda to share ideas around the decolonization of the curriculum in Social Work. The two day event is discussing different ways indigenous approaches might create a different model for social work, education.

The event is led by Jill Childs ; the Principal Lecturer/ Programme Lead Social Work and Wellbeing ; Oxford Brookes University. She is seconded by her colleagues from the University of Rwanda, University of Espoir d’Afrique of Burundi and Makerere University of Uganda. The Initiative is supported by the International Association of Schools of Social Work.

Participants to the community consultation pose for group photo

Speaking during the meeting, Ms Jill Childs noted that the partner institutions are looking at ideas around the colonization of the curriculum in particular thinking about how indigenous voices, might help to shift some of the very westernized global south approaches currently used in social work, education. According to her, the discussions will pave the way towards the development of a new curriculum that is fit for the future.

Jill Childs ; the Principal Lecturer/ Programme Lead Social Work and Wellbeing ; Oxford Brookes University

“We need to think about whether there is an element of coloniality that has informed teaching that actually is not fit for a future workforce,” said Childs, adding that they intend to provide a case for a different approach to social work education to attract more social workers worldwide.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor for Strategic Planning and Administration paid a brief visit to the group and commended the work being done to promote social work and social science in general. Dr Raymond Ndikumana labeled social work a critical subject which adds more value to the multidisciplinary approach that the UR has embraced in recent times. He mentioned among others the power of social work to galvanize people towards needed change while the subject certainly play a pivotal role in alleviating resistance to new practices.

The UR DVC for Strategic Planning and Administration held an interactive session with the group

In her remarks, Consolee Uwihangana an Assistant Lecturer at UR College of Arts and Social Sciences said that improved curriculum will mostly benefit graduates to address the real social problems on the ground. Uwihangana who also conducts PhD studies in social work at the University of Gothenburg added that new knowledge will have a ripple effect leading to a desired social change among people.