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Volunteering deals with all levels of society.
Volunteering deals with all levels of society.

LETTERS: As a member of the Malaysian Association of Social Workers, I am not only interested in the practice of social work competencies and skills, but also in the professional development of social workers.

Our country needs more social workers, and efforts should be made to train and keep them.

In addition to Universiti Sains Malaysia, there are other universities offering degrees in social work. It is also heartening to learn that Methodist College KL offers a Diploma in Social Work programme, a first by a private college.

Social work studies will equip students with knowledge, philosophy and skills needed for this profession.

As a social work practitioner for the past two decades, I am looking forward to the passing of the Social Workers Profession Act. With this law in place, I am sure that social workers will be more focused, better trained and equipped.

Now, anybody can claim to be a social worker if he is working in an orphanage, old folks’ home, rehabilitation centre, or in other community projects.

However, many who are involved in social work find it impractical and even impossible to take the time off to get professional training.

Perhaps the relevant ministry can offer short, part-time courses for those involved in social work.

The upgrading of the status of social workers will ensure that only those who are qualified and professionally trained will be recognised.

As a social worker, I have been volunteering at children’s homes for nearly two decades.

I used to give counselling services at drug rehabilitation centres and prisons too. I worked with the Social Welfare Department when it appointed me to the child protection team under the Child Act 2001.

I handled domestic violence, child abuse and runaway teenagers. I also had to work with the police.

I hope the minister concerned will expedite the tabling and passing of the act.

Last year, it was acknowledged that the “shortage of social workers is one of the factors contributing to the inefficient management of efforts to address social problems in the country”.

Getting non-governmental organisations’ assistance is one way to address the shortage of social workers.

The ministry should encourage students to take up social work studies and then recognise their efforts after the four-year programme.

I believe I can be of service for another three decades, even though I am in my 60s. I encourage retirees, such as teachers, to use their knowledge and experience to help the government deal with social problems.

PETER SOO

Volunteerism, Transport System, Kluang, Johor


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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