New publication of the RILSA

Attractiveness of the discipline of social work for students of secondary, tertiary professional schools and universities

Many fields of study offered by college of higher education and university degree programmes have faced a gradual decline in the number of study applicants over the last decade. According to analysis conducted by the Association of Educators in Social Work, this also applies to the various fields of social work. Is this decline related solely to the demographic development of society and, consequently, weaker school-leaving years, or is the decision-making process of school-leavers changing with respect to their further education and career paths?

The aim of this monograph is to analyse what secondary school-leavers with the school-leaving certificate and students in the 1st year of college vocational education and bachelor degree programmes in the Humanities and Social Sciences consider when deciding whether to study social work at higher education facilities, or what other factors influence their choice of further education subject. Such factors include particularly how these students perceive the social work profession and the prestige it offers.

This expert study is based on career decision theories and employs empirical data obtained through a combined data collection methodology that included the conducting of two questionnaire surveys that addressed secondary school-leavers at selected secondary schools (N=6 447) and 1st year students of subjects that qualify them to study social work in the form of university bachelor degree programmes (N=430), the qualitative and quantitative content analysis of the seminar papers of students in the 1st year of a social work bachelor degree study programme with respect to their motivation to study social work and the possible future performance of such work (N= 78), and the analysis of administrative data. The text thus provides a comprehensive overview of the issue of the level of interest in studying social work and, in addition to the collection of empirical data, includes a set of practical recommendations.

The study is intended primarily for educators in the field of social work and personnel at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs responsible for the concept of education in the field of social work.


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