27 September, 2011

Hacettepe University delegation visits Rotterdam

Today we received two visitors from the social work department at Hacettepe University, Ankara. It is this university which can pride itself on having the oldest social work department in all of Turkey (presently 51 years old). We learned that the 1999 Marmara earthquake led to an increase in the demand for social workers, which led in turn to an expansion of social work course programmes across the country. There was a clear need for individual counselling which could help people gain awareness about their problems and gain the skills to use their inner resources to cope with the after-quake issues.
We were told that much like other departments in Turkish universities the social work course programme was American-oriented. Another important influence came from (writer, academic and consultant on social work) Malcolm Payne, who, by the way, among many other things, keeps a fascinating blog site on Self positioning I found out just now.
Most social work graduates in Turkey find jobs in organisations under the ministry of social policies, the ministry of health or the ministry of justice. Apart from that, social workers can also find employment in private social work organisations and NGO's. We were told that there is a real need for social workers at the moment as the number of qualified social workers is low.

It was all in all a good opportunity to get to know each other a lot better and explore opportunities to cooperate with each other. Trying to establish opportunities for sustainable cooperation we decided to start with teaching staff mobility, starting this year. By constructively embedding the perspectives of the other partner in current courses lecturers as well as students on either side can benefit. And this can be arranged on an annual basis for example. Opening up opportunities for student exchange on a reciprocal basis was another idea that was explored, next to organising studytrips to each other's countries. Altogether we had fruitful discussions !

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