Analyzing the Integration of Human Rights into Social Work Education

Paulette Andrea Henry


The understanding of human rights are important to social work education and practice especially since the global definition of social work highlights the dual role of social work as a practice based profession and academic discipline emphasizing the principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversity. Concomitantly, social work education must ensure that students know and understand human rights laws especially since human rights are inherent to all human beings and are often expressed and guaranteed by international law which Governments are expected to uphold. Social workers have a commitment as duty bearers in supporting governments in the upholding of those agreements pertinent to the wellbeing of the people. Using the University of Guyana as a frame of reference this paper examined students’ knowledge on international agreements prior to leaving the University since these laws not only speak to nation states but to universal practices and many social work issues transcend borders. This paper utilized a mixed method approach to ascertain students’ awareness of international human rights laws and their perceptions on the applicability to practice. The findings show that there is limited knowledge amongst social work students on human rights covenants and conventions. This assessment is instructive to social work educators locally and internationally pointing to the need for integration into the curricula. It is imperative that generalist practitioners leave the University with a clear understanding of these laws as many practice issues are transnational. There will be the need for international social work to be a taught course for undergraduates training to become generalist practitioners.

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Issues in Social Science  ISSN 2329-521X


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