1. Formal Social Work Education (A promotive strategy)
2. Test for Licensing (A restrictive strategy)
Though I was worried about the latter, it seems like we have both working in India at present. UGC's NET is considered a test accepted by the Indian Government to test people for academic as well as (now) in non-academic recruitment drives too.
I am sure you would have read the headlines about 'A recent recruitment drive by Indian Oil Corporation that made NET crucial.'
NEWS: "Indian Oil Corporation is recruiting officers in marketing and human resource management. The written test for the selection process will be through University Grant Commission National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) examination, conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on behalf of the UGC." (Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/indian-oil-recruitment-through-ugc-net-december-2014/1/398201.html)
With the two strategies in place and existing already, there would be no need to reinvent the wheel; and with no need for a new system to be formed I really don't realize why there must be a delay in 'licensing' being made compulsory and with immediate effect. There should be comfortably no delay in declaring professionals with MSW and with NET as licensed Social Workers. All we would need after that is a stamping authority to declare the same; that can be worked out signing an MoU with IFSW or any such bodies by making it clear to them about this scenario present within their disposal in India.
Ofcourse there will be objections that can be expected as in any restrictive practice; perhaps people in India know better that passing the NET will not be as easy as passing MSW once this idea is enforced. As for consensus in this regards, it is a fact that those who do not get through the restrictive strategy, will find a way to oppose the existing option and will divulge in the pretext of finding alternatives.
Now since we are used to copying models and systems directly from the West (At times with little or no relevance to our country), if these criteria are the ones we need to make Social Work a licensed professional practice in India, it is only a matter of time that we need to make this a reality by working on it fast and expose IFSW to this option already available and install a stamping authority to further move this cause. Seems as simple as that.
May be after my (ongoing) trial to include Social Work as an optional subject in UPSC, licensing Social Work with the available options must be my next attempt. What say folks?!...
In the mean time, I also need to think:
1. Is a foreign degree in Social Work acceptable for a personnel to be employed in India to practice? When it is not possible the other way around quoting irrelevance and the need to adhere to passing local tests and exams.
2. Is a foreign degree in Social Work acceptable for a personnel to teach in the Indian academia? When it is not possible the other way around quoting irrelevance and doubting our capability.
3. Can a foreigner be allowed to continue to work as a Social Worker in India?! Esp. without the knowledge of the local customs or language (criteria used to test us if we plan to go to a foreign land) and/or without undergoing a security check or signing child/elderly/gender protection policies and/or without a need to adhere to any eligibility criteria put forth as policies esp. Universities?
4. Can foreign interns who come on 'volunteer tourism' be provided tourist visas for their academic pursuits in India when the same possibility is not extended for an India intern?
5. Why is Social Work syllabus offered by different Universities different? Then how can we claim that we are professionally prepared to be the same when the foundations of our syllabuses aren't?!
6. Can those who are trained in a discipline in a University by unqualified personnel (who have not met certain standards in qualifying to be employed like NET, PhD etc.) be accepted as 'trained' professionals? Shouldn't they be disqualified automatically?
7. What must be the penalty for institutions who destroy a profession and student lives by recruiting trained yet unqualified workforce be?