People, policies and practice : social work education in Aotearoa/New Zealand from 1949-1995 : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Policy and Social Work at Massey University

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Massey University
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This thesis is a case study of the history of social work education in Aotearoa/New Zealand between 1949, when the first professional course for social work was established, and 1995, when the social services Industry Training Organisation was formed. It traces influences responsible for shaping social work education. Key questions focus on the nature and provision of education for social workers, how this has changed over time and why. Three organisations (the New Zealand Association of Social Workers, the New Zealand Social Work Training Council and the New Zealand Council for Education and Training in the Social Services) had degrees of authority over policy making, setting standards, accrediting courses, or advising governments in matters relating to social work education. These provide a focal point for the research. Key people in the field of social and community work contributed their personal views and histories, adding depth to this account through their oral data. This history has been organised into three chronological periods. It is argued that in the earliest period social workers recognised their professional identity in a common pursuit. Later, they claimed professional autonomy, making efforts to consolidate it although state and employer interests were converging and distancing themselves from those of educators and the social work profession. Most recently, social work is diversifying and the fragmentation which is occuring reflects national and international economic and political systems. The reduction in state responsibility for the direct provision of welfare is shaping social service provision and education and national trends reflect the international scene. It is argued that people, policies and practice have each in their own way influenced the changes that have taken place in the provision and styles of social work education. This study has documented and discussed these influences (covert and overt) and the constraints affecting them. The implications for the future of social work education are inextricably intertwined with the delivery of social work services. Concerns are expressed over the directions currently being taken in both spheres.
Social work profession, Social work education