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World-Wide Beginnings of Social Work Education

KATHERINE A. KENDALL This paper records the evolution of social work education from the efforts of Victorian reformers in the last decades of the nineteenth century to remodel charity work as scientific philanthropy .To the extent possible, the story is told in the words of all the people involved. The very first school of social work, with a two-year full-time programme, was established in Amsterdam in 1899, but the real beginnings of social work education are found in Octavia Hill's training of volunteers in housing management and 'friendly visiting' in the 1870s. Expansion of this training in the 1880s, in cooperation with he Women's University Settlement, led in 1890 to an organised one-year programme of courses and field practice which evolved, under the direction of the Charity Organization Society, into the London School of Sociology, launched in 1903. In addition to the school already established in The Netherlands, the early 1900s saw a blossoming of schools or programmes of social work in the United States, throughout the United Kingdom, and in Germany. The 'first' in Asia, Africa, and South America, which came later, are a!so described along with the legacies of these many beginnings. Prof. Katharine A. Kendall is the Honorary President of the International Association of Schools of Social Work, USA. INTRODUCTION A new century and a new millennium invite reflection not only on the future but on the road travelled thus far. For social work education that road has pretty much run parallel to the century just ended. The beginnings of a special kind of education for volunteers, and others engaged in working with the poor, are marked in each of our continents by the vision and dedication of remarkable men and women, about whom too little is known within the profession of social work today.


Katherine A. Kendall

This article attempts to show how and where it all began in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.1 Mary Richmond, author of the classic text, Social Diagnosis, and recognised as the founder of social work education in the United States, said, in her private opinion, that 'the best starts ever made in the United States in our field took their inspiration from Octavia Hill' in London, England, in the 1870s. After thoroughly researching all sources of information, I agree, but it is comforting to have Mary Richmond's word on it as her authority is much less likely to be questioned than mine. No one person can be hailed as the original mother or father of social work or social work education, but Octavia Hill stands out for her use and teaching of a special way of working with the poor through a caring relationship that had the germ of certain values and principles that are central to what later became professional social work. She said of her own experience, 'the work is more like a profession, it has so much that is technical in it.' OCTAVIA HILL Let us look at her work and see for ourselves whether it has a familiar ring. But first, a brief note about Octavia Hill herself. She came from an upper middle class family with a tradition of liberal views, high principles, and public service, but a family that had seen better days financially. While still an adolescent, she contributed to the family income by supervising impoverished young girls who worked in a toy factory operated by a Ladies Guild with Christian Socialist sympathies. She immediately befriended the girls, visited them in the squalid tenements where they lived, and proceeded to help them in every way she could, to improve the condition of their empty lives. It was not her intention, at that time, to devote her life to working with the poor. Her first ambition was to become an artist and that brought her to. the attention of John Ruskin, a renowned art critic and Professor of Fine Arts at Oxford University. He took her on, both, as a student and as a paid helper in making copies of drawings. She had some talent as an artist, but it was Ruskin who recognised in her a more productive talent for helping people. He wrote to her: 'I have wanted so often to say to you, never let drawing interfere with any other thing you may have wanted. You have infinite sympathy and power of teaching and helping people, use it.' Through a happy combination of circumstances, her sympathy and power of teaching and helping people were put to use when Ruskin

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inherited considerable wealth along with slum housing. He turned over the houses to her to repair and manage as decent homes for the poor, with the stipulation that he receive a return of five per cent interest on the capital invested. He continued for many years to buy additional slum housing for her to manage and provided her with the money needed to launch and support her great housing crusade. She declared, at the outset, that her major goal was to help people help themselves and to render them independent of her help. This involved the simultaneous improvement of the tenants along with their housing. At the same time, housing management had to be made a paying proposition. How she managed to improve the lot of the tenants along with the filthy rooms they occupied, while assiduously collecting the rents, is a story worth recounting, but too long for this article. It is enough to say that we see the beginning of a new kind of helping relationship based on certain principles, many of which today would be regarded as good social work. It is instructive to look at some of her principles, or laws as she called them, that she communicated in training a steadily increasing number of middle and upper class women, recruited as volunteers. Their job was to collect the rents from the tenants and give personal help without destroying independence. They were assigned multiple tasks ranging from assistance in finding work to advising on repairs and maintenance, from supplying their tenants with flowers to collecting, on a regular schedule, small sums of money for savings accounts. She prepared the volunteers for those tasks, at first by example but, as the numbers grew, by weekly meetings and what she called 'Letters to Fellow Workers,' in which she enunciated the principles governing their activities. Here is some of what she communicated. 'Each case and each situation must be individualised. Everyone must be treated with respect for their privacy and independence.' She advised her workers not to judge the tenants by their personal standards: 'It is essential to remember that each man has his own view of life, and must be free to fulfill it; that in many ways he is a better judge than we, as he has lived through and felt what we have only seen.' They were not to judge, but were expected to help each person to judge rightly what needed to be done. This was their version of self-determination or empowerment. She believed in the value and dignity of even the most bedraggled and degraded of her tenants. She attempted to mitigate class distinctions by instructing her workers to think of 'the poor primarily as husbands,


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wives, sons, and daughters, as members of households, as we are ourselves, instead of contemplating them as a different class.' She was deeply religious, but strongly objected to mixing religion with any form of help. She wrote to a friend: 'I never speak to them (the tenants) of HIM. I think too much, not too little is said about HIM. To the poor especially.' Although relationship probably came first in Octavia Hill's scale of values, she brooked no neglect of practical details on the part of her workers or of non-payment of rent on the part of her tenants. The love that she felt for all who worked with her, whether as tenants or volunteers, was truly tough love. Tenants, who did not live up to their contract with her on rents or other agreements, were ousted. Volunteers who departed from her principles did not survive long, as fellow workers. This is not a complete picture of this remarkable woman, but enough to show how she strongly influenced what followed in the nature of more organised training. Almost all the Victorian charity reformers were influenced in one way or another by Octavia Hill. Samuel and Henrietta Barnett, the founders of Toynbee Hall and the inspiration for Hull House and settlements everywhere, admired her almost to the point of veneration. The London Charity Organisation Society initiated its friendly visiting under the direction of Octavia Hill. Beatrice Potter (later Webb), who worked briefly as a volunteer rent collector was influenced in an opposite direction. She discovered that working with the poor, as individuals, was not her strong point. Rejecting the individual case approach, she decided that investigation into the causes of poverty was more to her liking. She and her husband, Sydney Webb, became symbolic of a research and collectivist approach to the solution of social problems. This, too, had an important influence on the evolution of social work education, particularly in the United Kingdom. But that came very much later. What followed next in the development of training was initiated by women graduates of Oxford and Cambridge. THE WOMEN'S UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT The Barnetts, in their settlement work, were not particularly interested in training. Toynbee Hall was a man's world, with the unvoiced assumption that the brilliant young men recruited from Oxford and Cambridge were sufficiently endowed by birth, education, and moral values to minister to the poor. It was left to the women's settlements to initiate training activities. Foremost among them was the Women's

World-Wide Beginnings of Social Work Education


University Settlement, organised in 1987 in London by women graduates of Oxford and Cambridge. The training programme pioneered by the leaders of this group evolved into organised courses, and ultimately, into professional education for social work. Margaret Sewell, Warden of the Women's Settlement, joined with Octavia Hill to enhance apprenticeship training with organised lectures, group discussions, and reading assignments. The significant next step occurred in 1890 with the launching of a one-year course consisting of three terms of lectures and courses, supplemented by assigned readings, prescribed papers, and practice under guidance. Just as the six-week summer course, organised in New York in 1898 by the Charity Organisation Society, is heralded as the beginning of professional social work education in the United States, the 1890 one-year course could be seen as the beginning of professional social work education, not only in Britain but world-wide. This is how Sewell, a born educator, described the objectives: In drawing up the course of both theory and practice, weight will be given to the importance of affording to all workers an opportunity of seeing the various sides of philanthropic and social work, and of studying the life of the people in its several aspects. It is misleading to know the poor only at such times as they are in need of relief, or to see one class only. Preventive work should be shown in its relation to relief work, the work of the State should be coordinated with the work of the individual and so on. The course was so successful, with an enrollment increasing beyond Hill's rent collectors and Sewell's resident volunteers, that expansion was inevitable. The Charity Organization Society (COS) and the National Union of Women Workers (later the National Council of Women) joined with the Settlement to extend the course to the provinces as well as to outlying areas of London. Continuing success led to a more ambitious proposal by the COS for a School of Social Work. Before sketching out that proposal, a word about the Charity Organisation Society is needed as it undoubtedly is the most influential of our social work ancestors. THE CHARITY ORGANIZATION SOCIETY AND CHARITY REFORM The Society, in which most of the Victorian charity reformers were involved, was originally created in 1869 to bring some order out of the chaos of alms-giving and undirected charitable efforts by churches and

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a multiplicity of both honest and dishonest charities. All sources of aid along with applications for assistance were to be registered. Limited success in realising these purposes led the society to concentrate on helping the poor through friendly visiting by volunteers. Even then, in the early 1980s, this was called casework. The Victorian reformers had an obsession about the twin evils of alms-giving and poor law relief to people in their own homes. Both, in their view, encouraged pauperism and pauperism, not poverty, was the problem to be solved. The fault lay not in low wages and slum housing, unemployment and lack of educational opportunities, in class differences, or in the revolutionary social and economic changes produced by the Industrial Revolution. It was lack of character that kept the poor impoverished. To improve character was the task of the friendly visitor, who, with true feelings of sympathy, could foster sufficient self-respect to lift the poor out of poverty. Not alms, but a friend was the slogan most often associated with the work of the COS. A distinction was made between the worthy and the unworthy poor, with the latter relegated to the mercy of the highly repressive Poor Law of 1834. The attitudes of the Victorian reformers towards government intervention, which they deplored, and how best to help the poor should not be judged by what was later learned and by what is now known through a century of experience. Social work, almost more than any other profession, is deeply rooted in the beliefs and social climate of the times in which it is practiced. What seemed right in one period may appear wrong in another. Thus, while social work has moved on to different attitudes towards the poor and the role of government, it owes its beginnings to the casework of friendly visitors and the training that was seen as indispensable for helping the poor to help themselves. THE BIRTH OF THE SCHOOL OF SOCIOLOGY A Committee on Social Education of the COS, energised by the success of the one-year course, put forward, in the early 1900s, a proposal for a two-year academic programme with special attention to supervised practical work. A conference of academics and agency representatives was called to debate the advantages and disadvantages of university sponsorship. The group wanted the advantage of university studies and scholarship, but, with the improvement of practice as their major objective, they could not entrust their carefully sculpted programme to theoretical academics. They then considered and

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rejected the idea of attaching the programme to the London School of Economics (LSE), established by Sydney and Beatrice Webb in 1894. At that time, this was the best available road to the study of social questions, a road, however, that the COS found impossible to travel. The Webbs and the COS were at loggerheads over the future of the Poor Law. Without a full explanation, let it suffice to note that the Webbs had little regard for private charity and the COS believed that the less done by government in support for the poor, the better for both the poor and society. The deliberations within the Committee of Social Education and final action by the COS resulted in a decision in 1903 to launch an independent School of Sociology, which began operations in 1903. What was rejected earlier, however, became a necessity in 1912, when insufficient financial funds led to a merger with the LSE, where it reappeared as a Department of Social Sciences and Administration. In many ways, it seems to have been a forced marriage, which may account for the fact that so little has been recorded about the COS ancestry of the LSE programme of social work education. A prospectus issued in 1904 described a two-year programme of four six-month terms, with training in practical work simultaneously with study of theory by means of lectures, classes, and reading assignments. Areas of study were classified under two broad headings: Social theory and administration, and Sociology. A third area, under the direction of a special committee, offered practical instruction in poor law administration. The subjects under the two main headings included history and theory of social forces and movements, political sciences, economics, various aspects of sociology, and administration of charity and the poor law. Special lectures on such questions as parental responsibility, mutual help, theories and methods of social improvement, evidently, provided the theoretical base for field work. The primacy of practice is less clear in the 1904 prospectus than it was in the one-year course organised in 1890 or in the detailed description of field placements outlined in the 1903 proposal of the Committee on Social Education. It is noted, however, that students were placed first in the district offices of the COS, where emphasis was placed on family and child welfare. The settlement houses and other charitable agencies were also used. Octavia Hill wrote of receiving students from the School of Sociology whom she described as painstaking and reliable workers, but not likely to become housing managers.


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Professor E.J. Urwick, whose name has largely disappeared from the chronicles of social work education, organised the School of Sociology and directed it for 18 years, first under the auspices of COS and then as Director, Department of Social Sciences and Administration, LSE. A major social work leader, later in the century, described him as having done more than any other single person to shape the standards for social work education in Britain. From the records available, he comes through as much more of a sociologist than a social worker. In speaking of the new educational enterprise, he described sociology emerging as the 'science of social life' which offered an opportunity for social education worthy of the new century. His influence, together with the special mission of the LSE. established a pattern of undergraduate social work education as social studies or social administration, with both rooted in the social sciences. The seeds, thus planted in Britain at the close of the. nineteenth century burst, into a full flower as organised education for social work in Continental Europe and North America early in the 1900s and somewhat later in other continents. FIRST STARTS North America The course, heralded in the United States as the beginning of professional education for social work, was inspired by Mary Richmond and organised by the Charity Organization Society of New York. It was entitled 'Summer School on Philanthropic Work'. University graduates spent five days a week for six weeks attending lectures, participating in discussions, conducting inquiries, visiting agencies and institutions, and working under the supervision of experienced agency guides. The instruction included care and treatment of needy families in their own homes, care of the destitute, neglected and delinquent children, neighborhood improvement, medical charities, and institutional care of adults. The course evolved into a one-year programme in 1904 as the New York School of Philanthropy and in 1911, it added a second year. By that time, it also had a full-time faculty and a connection with Columbia University. Edward T. Devine launched the one-year programme and continued as the Director of the School. A similar development was taking place in Chicago under the auspices-of the Settlement Houses and the University of Chicago. The extension department of the University, in cooperation with the Hull

World-Wide Beginnings of Social Work Education


House and the Chicago Commons, organised a course in 1903 which, a year later, became the Chicago Institute of Social Sciences, with Graham Taylor at the helm. The Institute, in 1907, became the independent Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy. Finally, in 1920, as the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, it became the first autonomous graduate school of social work within a university. Edith Abbot and Sophonisba Breckinridge, in shared leadership at the University of Chicago, spearheaded the movement for graduate study and university sponsorship of social work education. Harvard and Simmons College jointly sponsored education for social work in 1904, but later parted company. Simmons, a women's college, carried forward a programme of graduate study for women only while Harvard offered professional courses (including casework, social diagnosis, and community organisation) in social administration for men only in its Department of Social Ethics. The Rev. Frances Peabody and Dr. Richard Cabot were the guiding spirits. Continental Europe The honour of recognition as the very first school of social work world-wide belongs to the Institute for Social Work Training, founded in 1899 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Little is known about this school which has continued, under various names, as a leading school of social work in The Netherlands, but circumstantial evidence suggests that it owes much to the pioneering work in the United Kingdom. Octavia Hill apparently had something to do with it, as seen in several references to 'the Dutch ladies' who had come to learn from her. Later, in a letter to her fellow workers, she noted with pleasure how well the housing schemes had developed in Holland 'under the care of ladies and a wonderful School of Sociology with far more practical experience in managing than ours gives.' The British influence is also evident in use of the term 'Toynbee work' to describe settlement practice. A contemporary survey in the early 1900s of public and private charity in the Western world by Charles Henderson of the University of Chicago, notes the existence of a School for Training Social Workers in Amsterdam that anticipated a similar movement in London and in American cities. He describes as its founder 'Ons Huis' (Our House), evidently a settlement, and described the programme as 'a systematic, theoretical and practical education of persons of both sexes who intend to give themselves to earnest labors.'


Katherine A. Kendall

A prospectus for the first course, as reproduced in a United Nations survey of training for social work, outlines a programme with a surprisingly modern look. It was a full-time, two-year programme with a generic first year and a second year of theory and practice in an area of specialisation. Students were prepared for the following fields of practice: welfare of the poor, housing management, settlement work, child care, and social work in industry. The importance of supervised practice is seen in the following excerpt from the first prospectus: It should be a training with scientific aspects, leading to a general sociological development, linked with knowledge of a large field of legislation, as well as a historical study of various problems. This should, however, be of a practical nature consisting of active participation and experience in the daily task, in a chosen field, and under adequate and inspiring supervision. Another beginning on the Continent is worthy of record because it was initiated in Germany by Alice Salomon, one of the founders of the International Association of Schools of Social Work and, for many years, an outstanding leader in the fields of both social work education and women's rights. As a precocious, brilliant young woman, openly dissatisfied with the expectation that her only interest should be to find a husband, she searched for a goal that would give some meaning to her life. She had a need to change the world and a belief it could be done. She became deeply involved in projects to help children, especially girls, and also in the work of the national and international councils of women. One of her earliest endeavours embraced all three of her major interests: women, education, and social work. To meet the need for some kind of preparation for systematic work with the poor, she organised, in Berlin, a one-year training course in social work for young women in the fall of 1899. A secondary purpose was to give young women an opportunity for higher education, somewhat comparable in academic level if not in content, to higher secondary courses for young men preparing for university entrance. She described the course as a 'most modest undertaking...haphazard, and more or less amateurish, an experiment'. This very small beginning become, in 1903, the Alice Salomon School of Social Work, for many years the accepted model for social work education in Germany. LATER STARTS: OTHER CONTINENTS In the pioneering movements of the early 1900s, great minds and social vision were involved. In later years, the pattern was repeated in Africa,

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Asia, and South America. The story of the beginnings in each of these continents is fascinating, but too long to be told in detail.2 Africa In Africa, schools patterned on the British model were established, beginning in 1924. The early South African schools, with the exception of the universities at Capetown and The Witwatersrand, and to a limited extent the then University College of Natal, admitted only white students. The first concentrated attempt, in all of Africa, to qualify non-white students as social workers belongs to the Jan H. Hofmeyr School of Social Work. The School was established in Johannesburg in 1947 under the auspices of the South African Council of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). Hofmeyr was a South African philanthropist, apparently at odds with many of his own people on race relations. He was independently wealthy, a member of Parliament, and President of the YMCA Council. In gratitude for its financial support, the School bore his name, but the leading spirit in its establishment was Dr. Ray Phillips, an ordained minister of the American Congregational Church and a missionary with a PhD from Yale University. He was inspired by the Christian doctrine of equality of all men, as expressed in the life of the earliest Christian church and community. He placed his' faith and hope for the world on 'certain splendid simplicities... courageously and unambiguously stated', such as no social distinctions and absolute equality of men and women of every race and condition. His idealism took him to South Africa, where he demonstrated the truth of what he believed as the infinite value of every human being. The University of The Witwatersrand cooperated in the establishment of the School and continued its interest through participation, both on the governing body and on the faculty. The student body, which included blacks, coloureds, and Indians, came from the different townships and, also, from a number of other countries in Africa. More men than women attended the. School. The three-year course led to a diploma that was recognised retroactively in 1965 as equal to an undergraduate university degree in social work. The curriculum placed greater emphasis on practical subjects than on the social sciences. Students were introduced to basic concepts in sociology and psychology, but more time was spent on subjects, such as arts and crafts, music, story telling, and community health, that the faculty thought would be of help in working with native populations.

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The methods of casework, group work, and community organisation, however, were included. With special attention to rural areas, the school launched a number of experimental projects in communitydevelopment. Field practice in a variety of services geared to the native populations was scheduled in each of the three years, with the requirement that students spend four days a week in the field in the third year. One course on the social teachings of the Bible is the only hint of religious influence. The Hofmeyr School ceased operations in 1960 as a result of new legislation that authorised separate university education for black, coloured, and Indian students. It also put an end to the admission of non-white students to existing universities, thus adversely affecting the limited non-racial policies and practice that were in effect. This legislation was called by Professor McKendrick of The Witwatersrand University 'a logical progression of the government's apartheid policy'. He added that despite what he called 'the particularly unsalubrious' context of this kind of academic environment for social work education, the new ethnically isolated university colleges produced a striking increase in the number of black, coloured and Indian students, that registered for social work studies. Since the abolition of apartheid, many graduates of the Hofmeyr School, of whom Winnie Mandela is one, are found in government and politics as well as in a variety of social welfare organisations and agencies. In moving to Asia, one sees again the power of dedication and, in this instance, a marked similarity in the backgrounds, motivations, and achievements of Ray Phillips, the founder of the Hofmeyr School, and Clifford Manshardt, the founder of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, the pioneer school of social work in India. Asia The distinction of launching social work education in Asia rightly belongs to the Yenching University in China, but the disappearance of social work with the arrival of communism wiped out what is known about that programme and several others which followed its establishment in 1922. From an account in the first United Nations survey of training for social work, it is clear that the School followed the American pattern, but at the level of four years of undergraduate education, leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Theoretical instruction in sociology and social work was spread over the four-year period,

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with subject areas classified as pre-professional, professional, and professional specialised courses. Practical training seems to have been limited to two months, following completion of the third year of full-time work supervised by Department faculty. The student body included both men and women. The joining of sociology and social work in university education emerged as a familiar pattern in many Asian countries. The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, the best known early school of social work in Asia, departed from that pattern, but mainly to the extent of starting as an independent graduate school and later gaining enough prestige to be granted, in 1964, the status of a university. Clifford Manshardt, the founder of the Institute, was an American missionary. The son and grandson of ministers, he was ordained, despite some misgivings, by the Congregational Church, which decided to take a chance on his becoming more orthodox as he grew older. Religion to him meant man's search after the good life. He believed that the spirit of God could dwell in everyone, no matter what the creed, and took on, as his life's work, whatever means available to create better understanding between nations, races, and classes. He was finally permitted to put his ideals into practice when the American Board of Missions in Western India (the Marathi Mission) decided to establish a social settlement in the heart of Mumbai (then known as Bombay). He was told that a man of his unorthodox views could not be used in their usual missionary work, but in a social work role he 'could do little harm and very likely considerably good'. The Settlement that he founded was called The Nagpada Neighbourhood House and it was from this base that he launched the school of social work. In the course of developing a variety of social programmes, he became connected with the Tata family which had amassed enormous wealth in the course of industrialising India. Manshardt described the Tata name as synonymous with industrial development, enlightened philanthropy, education and research. A member of the Tata family said: 'One way to take the injustice out of riches is to dedicate riches to the service of the people and of the nation'. When the Tata Trust sought to put its riches to the services of the people, they called upon Manshardt for help in finding suitable projects. Struck by the idealism of that particular generation of university students, who were inspired by strong feelings of nationalism, he proposed a graduate school of social work as a major project for the Trust. His idea was adopted and the School was


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opened in June 1936, with class rooms and a library on the top floor of the Neighbourhood House. Manshardt took over as Director, recruited, as his collaborator, Dr. J.M.Kumarappa, a well-known Indian educator with MA and PhD degrees, from Columbia University, who later followed him as the first Indian Director of the Institute. No attempt was made to affiliate with a university, as Manshardt wanted freedom to experiment. In planning the curriculum, the faculty looked at the experience of the British and American programmes and settled on a combination of a British background in the social sciences with an American emphasis on professional courses and social work practice. Designated as preprofessional, the initial subjects in a three-tiered programme included social origins, sociology, economics and social psychology. The second tier, described as orientation to the field of social work, included courses on the family, child psychology, historical backgrounds, Indian social problems, rural-urban questions, Indian industry, industrial labour, the state and social work, and social legislation. The third tier, dealing with the practice of social work, offered courses in casework, group work, delinquency, labour welfare and social work administration. The faculty was expected to undertake research and, to earn a diploma, students were required to submit a thesis. In the first years, not much is said about field work except that a certain amount of practice in recognised social agencies in Mumbai was required along with a seminar for group discussion of problems seen in practice. The aspirations of the new School were well-expressed at the first graduation ceremony by Dr. Arthur E. Holt, Professor of Social Ethics at the University of Chicago, who served as a Visiting Professor: You are the fist of a new line of public servants. You seek fullness of life for the people of India, an enterprise in which you have the right to ask all men of good will to join you. The fulfillment of this enterprise will not come as a fully developed Utopia; it must be built up family by family, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, community by community, village by village, city by city, state by state it is not a hundred yard dash; it is a long-distance championship. The new School of Social Work, housed on the top floor of the Neighbourhood House became the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, recognised by the government as a University in its own right, housed in its own splendid campus, and the precursor of social work education in India and in much of Asia. What Manshardt started in 1936 has continued to honour the goals of its founder.

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South America In South America, the first school was launched in 1925 as the result of a chance encounter on board a ship bound for Europe of two remarkable men, Dr. Rene Sand of Belgium and Dr. Alejandro del Rio of Chile. Both were physicians, pioneers in social medicine and social welfare. Dr. del Rio was headed for France and Belgium to find out more about how to organise a medical social work programme in hospitals under his jurisdiction as a member of the Santiago Board of Public Welfare and Social Assistance. Dr. Sand, as Secretary-General of the League of Red Cross Societies, was returning to Paris following consultations in South America. The two men immediately bonded in a friendship that led to joint participation in planning and launching a School of Social Work under the sponsorship of the Welfare Board, with Belgian social workers as its first and second director. The School, later renamed the Alejandro del Rio School of Social Work, offered a two-year programme, with, at the beginning, a oneyear option for health visitors. The curriculum was heavily weighted with subjects related to health, so also were the field placements. A general first year contained a number of practical subjects, such as book-keeping, food and special dietetics, office routines, and care of the sick along with a few courses on legislation, psychology, and economics. Specialisation in the second year went more deeply into subjects having to do with child welfare school services, industry, relief, and hospitals. The School flourished, a third year was added, and many of its graduates became the pioneers of social work education throughout Latin America. CONCLUSION These, then, are the beginnings. Who came first anywhere is less important than the amazing coincidence of the almost simultaneous appearance of schools of social work in New York, Chicago, Boston and St. Louis in the United States; in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow in Great Britain; and in Amsterdam and Germany on the Continent. Beginnings, no matter where they take place, arouse feelings of admiration akin to a tonic for the soul when they spring from idealism, dedication, and vision. The pioneers in every continent foreshadowed what we have become as a profession just as we foreshadow what social work will become in the new century and the new millennium. The unheralded changes in every

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aspect of living that occurred in the twentieth century will probably be matched by equally stupendous changes in the years to come. The challenge to social work and social work education is to hold on to its belief in the worth and dignity of every human being, to stand up for social justice and human rights, and to remain flexible and ready to meet new opportunities. As the age-old problems that affect humankind and the dislocations ever present in society are not likely to disappear, compassion joined with competence in dealing with human and social problems will continue to be needed and, thus, so will social work. As social work education has demonstrated over the last hundred years that it can grow and change with the times, there is every reason to believe that it will continue to grow and change and be able to face with confidence, the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in the years to come.

NOTES 1. This article is based on a carefully researched history of the beginnings of social work education in Europe, which also includes a chapter on beginnings in the other continents. See Kendall (2000). All of the quotations that follow come from this book. 2. For a full account, see Chapter 7 on 'The Firsts in other Lands in Kendall (2000).

Kendall, K.A. 2000 Social Work Education: Its Origins in Europe, Alexandria: Council of Social Work Education.