Social work education in Zimbabwe: strengths and weaknesses, issues and challenges
Social work education in Zimbabwe began with the establishment of the School of Social Work in 1964. Prior to this, the country relied on social workers trained in Britain, South Africa and Zambia . The initial focus of social work education was on training cadres who would work with groups of unemployed youths and women in urban areas. Thus, the programmes were introduced to address urban social ills. The major strengths of colonial social work education were that it provided the foundation for professional social work practice and it responded effectively to the practice needs of social work agencies. There were, however, some weaknesses such as dependence on Western literature and expatriate teachers and an orientation towards curative social work instead of developmental social work. Since the attainment of independence, the School of Social Work has endeavoured to make social work education more responsive to the development needs of the country. Great strides have also been made in developing indigenous teaching materials. The challenge facing social work education in Zimbabwe is to make it relevant and appropriate, particularly in terms of preparing social workers to address structural problems in society.