Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH
Our delegation was received today by the social work faculty of Helwan University. We were met by the Dean, Prof. Dr. Maher Abo Elmaate, and by the Vice Deans for Post Graduate Studies and Community Organization. Their faculty mission is “Preparing a high quality social worker able to apply the skills of dealing with social work systems and influencing them for making changes for developing the community and individuals.”
They explained their programs and that they use the CSWE standards as a guide. They also were quick to point out that they had the latest version of The Encyclopedia of social Work published by NASW.
We discussed the challenges facing social work in our respective countries. One theme in common was the need for a clearer understanding of what social workers do. We mentioned the need for tuition assistance and loan forgiveness for social work students in the USA. They do not have that problem because their university is government run and undergraduates can attend at almost no cost and MSWs pay a small sum. Doctoral students pay a bit more, perhaps $400 per year. Since they are government run, they accept only Egyptian and Palestinean students.
We toured their computer lab and library which housed all of the theses and dissertations that have been completed on their campus. It was an impressive number. They are working at building a data base for their research and community projects.
We discussed the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act that is currently pending in the US Congress. They enjoyed hearing about the legislation and thought it was a good idea.
Helwan University was established as a social work school for women in 1946. They opened admission to men in 1975. They are very active in community development and action programs.
At the conclusion of our meeting, we were interviewed by Nile Television. They were interested in knowing how we felt Egypt was progressing.