As the first private institution to offer a Diploma in Social Work, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL), in its efforts to champion the social work profession in Malaysia, organised its inaugural social work virtual forum titled ‘Stop the Stigma Against Social Work’ on Friday, 2 nd July 2021.
Over 60 individuals from various welfare societies, industry partners and even school-leavers participated in the Friday evening event, expressing their support and to gain information and insights on the subject.
The interactive virtual forum provided an opportunity for stakeholders outside and in the social work industry to frankly talk about the challenges of the profession and to emphasize the importance of accredited social work education and training to practice competently and ethically in meeting the needs of vulnerable and marginalized populations. Social workers have played, and continue to play, a vital role in mitigating biopsychosocial problems for decades in Malaysia. It is even more deeply needed during national crises and emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic now.
According to a study by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit, the ratio of social worker to population is 1:8,756 Malaysians, far behind the ratio of developed countries such as the US (1:490), Australia (1:1,040), United Kingdom (1:3,025) and Singapore (1:3,448). This starkly ratio reveals the lack of professional and qualified social workers in the country to deal with increasing human problems, let alone the disastrous impact of the long drawn MCO restrictions.
Speaking at the forum, MCKL’s Head of Department, Diploma in Social Work, Ms Jolyn Hong said, “In line with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development efforts to improve efficiency in case management of targeted groups while ensuring adequate qualified social workers for the country, we hope that today’s event will complement the government’s and Non-Profit Organisations’ initiatives in this noble cause. With our dedicated team of lecturers at MCKL, we shall always endeavour to provide comprehensive education to empower our students while also guiding in their career placements upon graduation”.
Ms Jolyn Hong gave a presentation on the comprehensive approach of MCKL’s social work education programme and the rewarding career opportunities for social work graduates. Together with Ms Tina Yap, a Community Development Worker from Malaysian CARE, they spoke about the stigmas impacting on entry into the social work profession and emphasized the urgency of building a work force of qualified and competent social workers to manage increasingly complex and critical social issues. Social Work Programme Alumna, Ms Marianne Tsen who works with DUMC-Social Concerns & Community Development Bhd, shared her experience studying for the diploma and how the programme has benefitted her professionally and personally.