UUM ONLINE: Kuala Lumpur, July 14 – In efforts to address the increasingly complex and demanding challenges faced by the community, the School of Applied Psychology, Social Work and Policy (SAPSP), Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), in collaboration with the Social Institute of Malaysia (ISM), organised the 2017 National Conference on Social Work (PESAN 2017), which ran from 12 to 13 July at the ISM Auditorium.
With its apt theme, "Social Work Faces Social Challenges," the two-day conference combined, for the first time, the workforce and expertise of the Social Work Programme at UUM and that of the ISM, with the collaboration of the three most influential organisations in the social work profession in Malaysia, namely, the Social Welfare Department (JKM), the Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW) and the Malaysian Association of Community Development Officers (Medical) (PPPP).
The opening of PESAN 2017 was officiated by the Deputy Secretary-General (Strategic), Ministry of Women, Family & Community Development (KPWKM), Mr. Azman Mohd Yusof, who represented the Honourable Dato' Sri Rohani Abdul Karim, Minister of Women, Family & Community Development.
Delivering the speech on behalf of the Honourable Dato' Sri Rohani, the Deputy Secretary-General said that the sharing of comprehensive knowledge in the field of social work could lead to raising the level of service provided to one that was more professional and of even better quality for the clients, namely those who needed help from third parties such as social workers.
"Smart collaborative efforts such as this conference is expected to be able to improve social work professionalism, produce social workers who are competitive, and bridge the gap among non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to help improve the general welfare of society and the wellbeing of those in need of assistance such as women, families, children, senior citizens, the disabled, the poor, victims of natural disasters and others, so that they may become more competitive and be able to contribute to national development, "he said.
Meanwhile, the Dean of the SAPSP, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Noor Azniza Ishak, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, said that the cooperation among the ISM, MASW and PPPP was a joint venture centred on bringing the work at institutions of higher learning closer to practical application, or, in other words, translating research into practice.
"This collaboration has the capacity of enabling the findings from research conducted by institutions of higher learning, to be applied in real life situations and further translated into germane data for solving problems in the community, especially those related to social work," she said as she delivered the text of the Vice-Chancellor's speech.
PESAN 2017, among others, discussed the current initiatives undertaken by the social work profession towards improving the welfare of the community and provided a platform for discussion among educators, researchers and social work practitioners, in line with the Government's concept under the National Blue Ocean Strategy, which promotes strategic cooperation among government agencies, statutory bodies, non-governmental organisations, private agencies, and others.
The conference gave expression to three keynote addresses and 16 presentations organised into three parallel sessions. A total of 195 participants and speakers from various institutions of higher learning and organisations from within the country and abroad were involved in this conference.
The event also saw the launch of a book entitled "Isu-Isu Psikososial Daripada Pelbagai Perspektif" (Psychosocial Issues From Various Perspectives), published by the ISM with the collaboration of the SAPSP, UUM. As the title suggests, the book contains articles on psychosocial issues viewed from various perspectives.
Also present at the function were the Director of the ISM, Dr. Al-Azmi Bakar; Director of the Planning & Development Division, JKM, Mdm. Fatimah Zuraidah Salleh, who represented the Director of the JKM; President of the MASW, Prof. Dr. Ismail Baba; Acting President of the PPPP, Mr. Harolhanam Mohamed Wahid, and UUM lecturers and ISM officials.
Translated by Mahaliza Mahadhir
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