'Professionalism'-a buzz word that moves the moment one even dares to think of "Social Work". The moment this word (somehow) kicks in, the market gets filled with ideas, ideologies, principles, values, ethics, theoretical frameworks, practice models, competencies, networking, memberships, associations and so on...
Talking from the point of view of an Indian Social Worker, its been 80 years since we brought in Social Work as a discipline into our universities-that is 11 years older than our country's independence that we received in 1947-yet, we have only done our bit, as individuals and more collectively as associations that have mushroomed all over India that hawkers memberships at different rates, to cripple the growth of Social Work as a profession rather than boost it in any form.
Think we are all confused. The higher we try to reach to the ones perched on top of these institutions and associations for clarity, the sooner we realize that the older and more confused they are who have learnt mute and pointless babbling as new languages. Often in the academia, we are asked to refer NASW for our code of ethics and every other detail connected therewith; after a point of time, we realize, NASW is so national by its limitation with no space to accommodate others that they leave us with space only to wonder, 'Why patronize them at all?!" Different schools of thought occupy the Indian scenario-perhaps like every other healthy democracy-we have the liberals to the conservative with the moderates in between wondering where to draw the line-like in politics, more so in Social Work. It took many of us a while to understand that Social Work is not (yet) a "professional" course in India (too) as it does not fit into the "professional" requirements other actually professional courses such as medicine, law or its allied courses mandates. Any Deepak, Rani or Chandru can be a Social Worker here unlike the Tom, Dick and Harry there. The associations are as confused as its members; there is neither a council nor a culturally-relevant locally and commonly agreed code of conduct or restrictive/promotive unit to monitor its practice. This as mentioned earlier, after 80 years of its existence.
International organizations talking to a member of some God-forsaken association in India and feel a right to claim that they have associated with Indian Social Workers are so absolutely wrong. One organization or for that matter a bunch of their pseudo-collectives, DO NOT represent the collective Social Worker community from India.
Where are we?
Are other countries with us in this regard?
What should we do that perhaps our seniors in the field have not done?