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Author(s): Suzana Bornarova

Journal: Ljetopis Studijskog Centra Socijalnog Rada
ISSN 1846-5412

Volume: 16;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 279;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: user and carer participation | universities | user knowledge | education in social work

Involving service users and carers in the education and training of social workers is higher on the policy and practice agenda in the developed countries than ever before. Higher education institutions that run these programmes are required to involve service users and carers as stakeholders in all parts of the design and delivery of the programmes. The experiences in the domain of user involvement in social work education in the countries of transition, such as Macedonia, are however lagging behing. This article discusses the modalities, principles and benefits of user involvement in social work education, based on the Anglo-Saxon experiences, and makes a reference to their applicability within the Macedonian context whereever relevant.It focuses initially on the modalities in which user involvement may take place: teaching and learning, practice assignments, curricula development, students’ assessments, planning management and evaluation of courses etc. Further, it briefly explores core principles, as well as issues related to participation planning and payment, bearing in mind that actively promoting and sustaining participation of service users in social work education is a process which takes time to develop effectively. Benefits of involvement for education staff, service users and students are also elaborated. Barriers to service user involvement in social work education on the part of professionals, universities, service user organisations and some prevailing ways on how to improve it are further discussed. Finally, the article emphasizes the future requirements for making service user involvement work, such as enhancing service user networking and knowledge base, and points out how university, governments and service user organizations could contribute to this development.
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