Future indicative, past imperfect: a cross cultural comparison of social work education in Malaysia and England.
Editors: Stanley, S.
Place of Publication: New York
This chapter offers a cross-cultural, comparative analysis of social work education in Malaysia and England. The basis for this comparison lies in the historical connections between the two countries, where early models of intervention prevalent in Britain influenced the development of social work in colonial crown possessions, such as Malaya. These, however, have long since given way to diverse forms of indigenous and authenticized paradigms of social and community welfare, whilst at times building on received ideas. Many of these offer some unique perspectives that serve to enrich the social work discipline and remit globally.
To set the background to a comparative discussion, a review of social work education in Malaysia will be outlined. This will refer to both relevant pre- and post-qualifying programmes at tertiary levels, issues pertaining to quality control, and the rise of social work courses in the private sector. The discussion will also include an overview of the employment opportunities available to Malaysian social work graduates; and the relationship to and impact of this situation for the developing professionalization of the social work/welfare vocation. This is a particularly important issue in terms of a deficient number of designated and protected roles for social work qualified staff, who are therefore obliged to compete with non-qualified personnel; a parallel concern for different reasons in the UK. The additional issue of competent intervention and effective outcomes for Malaysian service users will be considered. Connected to these points will be an analysis of the socio-political and religio-cultural contexts of social welfare in Malaysia. In association with these points are those which refer to social policy and legislation, particularly in terms of how these currently govern, and are likely to shape, the social work remit in Malaysia. Religious, spiritual and cultural influences will be discussed in terms of transported colonial values, local and migratory influences, and prevailing belief systems and principles. The section will incorporate a number of examples and brief case studies deemed relevant to the discussion.