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Good Samaritans
"There are plenty of jobs in the fields of local democracy, rural and urban community development"
Dr. Vimla Nadkarni, Dean, Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Starting Salary : Rs.1 lksh —Rs.1.25 lakh p.a.
"The last few years have seen the mushrooming of numerous NGOs and they all need trained MSWs"
Mohun Chatterjee, Senior Manager, Child Relief and You( CRY), Kolkata

Social work is generally perceived to be a voluntary service or a low remuneration field of work. But the perception is changing — the proliferation of various study programmes in social work in recent years bears testimony to that fact. The past decade has seen a rise in the availability
and study of social service-related courses like bachelors in social work (BSW) and master in social work (MSW) in various institutes. The objective of most of the institutes offering these courses is to " shape society with a social purpose". Moreover, the number of flush-with-funds NGOs is on the rise and more and more corporate houses are pumping money into all kinds of social projects. Therefore, there is now a huge demand for qualified social workers.

"Due to a growing desire for 'corporate social responsibility', MNCs are also recruiting social work graduates for the supervision of their projects dedicated to social causes. For instance, the Aditya Birla Group has welfare programmes for tis collieries and mine workers," says Dr. Kumkum Bhattacharya, head of the department of social work, Visva Bharati University, Sriniketan.

As an academic discipline, social work is closer to sociology, though a lot of emphasis in is generally laid of fieldwork and community projects. It is different from other professions in the sense that it not only involves putting one's knowledge and skills to use, but also involves applying personal values and ideals to the profession. The essence of social work is working with people—individuals, families, groups or communities—and helping them improve their quality of life by making appropriate changes in their social circumstances. "There are plenty of jobs in the fields of local democracy, rural and urban community development; families, children and youth; community and mental health; criminology and correctional social work and social justice and governance," says Dr. Vimla Nadkarni, dean of social work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.

The BSW programmes prepare graduates for entry level jobs. However, it is always advisable to go for a masters degree for better career opportunities. Admission to BSW courses at most of the institutes is based on a written test and a personal interview. For a masters course, you have to go for a written test, a group discussion and a personal interview. Most students for BSW programmes, students come from all sorts of backgrounds, including science and commerce.

Entry into a masters programme does not require a bachelors degree in social work. But degree courses in psychology, biology, sociology, economics and political science are generally recommended. Almost all schools of social work in the county have training facilities, leading to MPil and PhD in social work.
Social workers act in various capacities—mainly as counsellors or educators— to help mobilise communities, manage their resources, inform them about government schemes, and so on. Then there is the option of setting up your own NGO, for which you need an experience of at least three years in social work. " In fact, it's best to launch an entrepreneurial venture on your own. Even though there are plenty of funds and opportunities to be exploited, it still remains an unorganised sector. But you do need to work hard." says Nandini Biswas of the Garia Society for Integrated Development (GSID), a Calcutta based NGO.

Most social worker specialise in some field or the other. While some do research or are involved in planning or policy development, the majority prefers an area of practice in which they can interact with clients. Those who specialise in personnel management and industrial relation get jobs as welfare officers, personnel officers, HRD executives, industrial relations executives and social security officers in industries and commercial organisations. Social workers specialising in criminology and correctional administration work in institutions like prisons, juvenile homes and remand homes. "The recruitment depends on the need in a specific project and we generally prefer an MSW for the post of a counsellor," says Mrinal Kanti Dutta of Sonagachi Project, part of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, an NGO in Calcutta.

With a degree in social work you could also become social work planner, and policymakers, who develop programmes to address issues like child abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, poverty and violence. And if you become a real high flier, you could also land a job with such international organisations as the UNDP, the WHO, the UNICEF, the UNESCO, the ILO, etc. "The NGO sector is a growing one and it's fast becoming popular with so many institution offering it as subject. The last few years have been the mushroorming of numerous NOGs and they all need trained MSWs," says Mohua Chatterjee, senior manager, Child Relief and You (CRY).

The starting salary for an MSW- aualified person ranges between Rs.10,000 and Rs.15,000 per month on an average. In fact, some corporate houses offer freshers as much as Rs. 18,000 per month for social projects.

Students of social work are also upbeat about the futrur. " I will hopefully get a job even before i graduate from this course. I am in the final stages of the recruitment procedure by the Aditya Birla Group and am expecting a salary of about Rs.25,000 per month if taken," says Murali Sahoo of Visva-Bharati University. Campus placements are available for most institutes.

But be prepared foe hard work. Social work is a 24-hour job. "It requires tremendous amount of patience," says Dutta of the the Sonagachi Project.

Where to Study
Tata Institute of Social Science
Sion-Trombay Road, Deonar, Mumbai- 400088
Phone: 022 - 25563290
Website: www.tiss.edu

Visva-Bharati Unviersity
Department of Social Work
Sriniketan, West Bengal-731235,
Phone: 03463 - 52751 - 56
Website: www.visva-bharati.ac.in

University of Delhi
University Road, New Delhi - 110007
Phone: 011 27667126
Website: www.du.ac.in

Jamia Mila IsLamia
Jamia Nagar
Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar Marg,
Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025
Phone: 011 26981717
Website : www.jmi.nic.in

University of Bombay
MG Road, Fort, Mumbai
Website: www.mu.ac.in

The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
Fatehgunj, Vadodara 390002, Phone: 0265 2795600
Website: msub.edu

University of Poona
Ganeshking, Pune
Website - www.unipune.ernet.in

Bangalore University
Department of Social work
Jnana Bharathi Campus, Bangalore- 560056
Ph: 080 32214001
website: www.bub.ac.in

Mangalore University
Mangalagangothri- 574119
Ph: 0824 2287276
Website: www.mangaloreuniversity.ac.in

Christ College
Hosur Road, Bangalor-29
Ph: 080 25536280
Website: www.christcollege.edu



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