'Bridge gap between academics, practice'

HARARE - There is a mismatch between university academic learning and the industrial practice expectations, Public Service and Social Welfare director Sneddon Soko has said.

Speaking at a recent National Association of Social Workers (NASW) workshop at the Midlands State University School of Social Work Harare campus, Soko said there is need to bridge the gap between practice and academics, especially in Social Work.

“As my personal contribution for discussion at this workshop, as a social worker, there are gaps between academic learning in universities and the practice expected in the industry.

“Students are not prepared, for example, to use case management forms; protocols when arriving in districts for work and even the Children’s Act, so there is a training gap,” Soko said.

This comes as several employers have been experiencing significant gaps and a mismatch between the learning process and industry required skills from graduates.

In an interview with the Daily News, National Association of Social Workers president Constantine Mupangani said this problem within the social services sector is derived from the fact that many curriculums were designed during the colonial era.

“So yes, there are various factors which result in the mismatch.

“The social work curriculum was designed during the colonial era; hence it becomes less relevant to address the current needs of the poor and marginalised and as a result the training and social work practice is remedial and less developmental,” Mupangani said.

He added that emerging issues have not really been updated and framed thus causing the gap.

However, Council of Social Work board member Charles Dziro alleged that some universities are not registering with professional bodies, which may also be causing that gap.

“We have four universities that are compliant with the Council of Social Work, which is the regulation board according to Chapter 27:1.

“All academic institutions should be regulated with Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education while all professionals should be registered with our board,” Dziro said.

Universities confer students to work-related attachment, which is also a way of practice for students; however, Soko said there is need for more practical learning as opposed to theoretical learning, particularly in applied subjects such as Social Work.


Comments (1)

This is shocking - so you want social work students to be taught how to fill in forms. How many forms are there in the world anyway, and how do you expect 'filling all these forms' to be taught. And this guy is a director - my foot.

willo - 13 November 2018

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