Professors Sara Ashencaen Crabtree and Jonathan Parker of the Department of Social Sciences and Social Work and Centre for Seldom Heard Voices have published research that develops heir Newton/Ungku Omar research with Universiti Sains Malaysia for developing curricular and education for social workers in a time of pandemic.
COVID-19 resulted in massive disruption and changes in every
aspect of our lives. To curb the spread of the virus, many governments
limited the movement of people or imposed full ‘lockdowns’.
This created significant challenges for social workers practising with
people often reliant on interpersonal support such as those at risk
of domestic abuse; with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
Measures to reduce viral spread affected the education
sector at all levels from pre-school to higher education, disrupted
traditional classroom pedagogy and shifted to technologically supported
e-learning to minimise disruption to the students’ education.
In lockdown, online teaching has become the new norm.
E-learning has its limitations for professional curricula such as social
work. Like most countries, field practice represents a compulsory
component of the social work curriculum in Malaysia which measures
the capabilities or competency of students to enable them to
become qualified social workers. When COVID-19 forced universities
and agencies to halt field placements in Malaysia, the immediate
challenge was to find alternative ways of assessing students. This paper aims to provide an overview of field education assessment in Malaysia during the pandemic and to pose questions for future assessment as Malaysian social work drives towards increased professional regulation.