The Updated Global Standards For Social Work Education And Training: The New Chapter In Social Work Profession

The International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) are announcing the launch of the Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training.

The updated Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training is a product of the extensive global consultation that lasted for more than 18 months and included a wide range of social work academics, practitioners and experts by experience across 125 countries, represented by 5 Regional Associations and approximately 400 Universities and Further Education Organisations. In addition, members of the joint task force facilitated two international seminars involving service user representatives.

The consultation, analysis and development of the document was co-ordinated by a joint task group comprising the IASSW’s Global Standards Taskforce and IFSW Global Education Commission. The task group was chaired by Professor Dixon Sookraj and Professor Vasilios Ioakimidis.

The updated Global Standards were approved by the membership of IASSW and IFSW through the biennial General Meetings of the two organisations in the period June – July 2020.

Rationale for change and aims of the new Standards

The social work education and practice landscape has changed significantly since 2004, when the first version of the standards was launched. The adoption of a new Global Definition of Social work (2014), the publication of the updated Global Social Work Statement of Ethical Principles (2018), and the new Global Agenda (2020) require that the Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training document also reflects broader changes and recent developments in global social work. These developments also include social work’s role in supporting bottom up development to meet the aspirations of the SDGs, ensuring countries that are new to social work have global peers to support the advancement of social work education free from colonial influences and creating platforms for Indigenous and local approaches to shape curricula and relevant courses.

The specific aims of the new Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training are:

  • Ensure consistency in the provision of social work education while appreciating and valuing diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Ensure that Social Work education adheres to the values and policies of the profession as articulated by the IASSW and IFSW.
  • Support and safeguard staff, students and service users involved in the education process.
  • Ensure that the next generation of social workers have access to excellent quality learning opportunities that also incorporate social work knowledge deriving from research, experience, policy and practice.
  • Nurture a spirit of collaboration and knowledge transfer between different social work schools and between social work education, practice and research.
  • Support social work schools to become thriving, well-resourced, inclusive and participatory teaching and learning environments.