As one who nurtured the College of Social Works and Community Development for more than a decade, Dean Aleyssa Bagian Abdulkarim is noted to be one of the resource speakers in the various Forums on Social Works here and abroad- the China-ASEAN Forum on Social Work being the latest.
Dean Abdulkarim, along with the National executive Director of the National Association for Social Work Education Inc., Philippines and a distinguished faculty of the University of the Philippines, Jowima Ang Reyes, were chosen to be keynote speakers of the said ASEAN forum held in Nanning, China last September 9-10, 2016.
The event aims to know the experiences, the opportunities and the countermeasures of the development of social work in the Philippines and the mission, role, experience and countermeasures of social work in the process of poverty relief to give the participants a glimpse of the history on the birth and development of the context of social work in the country. And for the Chinese government to have an idea on how the ASEAN countries do social work.
Social work in the Philippines is not far from the social work in the world. It aims to promote human rights, social justice and empowerment. “They were impressed by the presentation because they learned that the social work in the Philippines is already 69 years old and it is based on a law,” says the Dean.
Republic Act Number 4373 regulates the practice of Social Work and the operation of Social Work agencies in the Philippines and in the academe by virtue of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum Order (CMO) 11-2010, the implementation of the social work curriculum was strengthened. “And this is not implemented in other ASEAN countries,” she added.
During the discussion on her talk on the “Experiences, Opportunities and Countermeasures of the Development of Social Work in the Philippines”, the body was able to conclude that the social welfare program and services in the country and the clientele system [the programs and services rendered to the abused children, the persons with disabilities, the elderly, the poor, the marginalized], is the same with other ASEAN countries.
The forum also served as an avenue for the China Association of Social Work to identify and validate with ASEAN countries the common problems in term of human-induced and natural calamities. Upon enumerating the common social problems each country’s facing. And Dean Abdulkarim shared the country’s solution to these problems, citing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the so called 4Ps as an example in solving poverty. It is decided during the open forum that ASEAN countries should be connected and should have a common principle in social work, common goal and share a common curriculum according to the Dean.
Knowing the need to assist other ASEAN countries, CSWCD Dean, as the Press relations officer of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, will be involved in the crafting of the curriculum of other ASEAN countries since the social work curriculum in the country is well established and the Philippines tops the ASEAN countries in terms of social work education.
This is not the first time Dean Abdulkarim represented the country in international forums on social work. As early as 1997, she presented a research paper in Norway which tackled the Islamic Perspective on Family Planning. And her journey went on as her career as a social work educator.
Since she is already in her senior stage, the renowned social work educator plans to be involved in researches on elderly as she was greatly impressed with the services of the Chinese government to their elderly. According to her, she would like to look into it because in the Philippines, particularly in Zamboanga, the services rendered in the home for the elderly is very inadequate.
As she disclosed “My interest will be on the elderly and currently I’m doing some readings on elderly and I’ll do a paper on the Islamic perspective on handling the elderly kasi sa amin bawal man yung ilagay mo sa elderly center because as their offspring, it is your responsibility to pay forth and take good care of them at home. Hindi appropriate yung magkaroon ng center for the elderly sa mga Muslim.”
The said event was fully hosted by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, organized by the Department of Civil Affairs of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and sponsored by the China-ASEAN Secretariat. (Ella Dee Cruz, WMSU-PAO)