CityU new book trumpets the fundamental beliefs in social work

Karen Lai

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has launched a new book, entitled Hold On to Your Faith—30 Letters to Social Work Students. Written by 21 CityU social work teachers, the book emphasizes the importance of professional ethics and humanitarian values in social work education and practice.

In recent years, the socio-economic contexts of Hong Kong have been changing rapidly. Issues such as an ageing population, increased number of immigrants from the mainland, more cases of domestic violence and social welfare reform have impacted upon the Hong Kong social work profession. Although social workers maintain a set of professional ethics, the tension between traditional values and field practice challenges the fundamental beliefs in and about the profession.

In view of this situation, the new book reiterates the importance of social work beliefs, ideals and values. Throughout the book, the writers share with students and alumni their personal experiences, providing them with encouragement as well as direction. Some chapters are especially written for mainland students who are preparing for a career in social work.

The editors of the book Dr Kam Ping-kwong, an associate professor of the Department of Applied Social Studies, Mr Chan Wai-to and Ms Man Kam-yin, a senior lecturer and lecturer respectively in the Division of Social Studies, City University Community Colleague, said the book provided a platform for CityU’s social work teaching staff to work together to reinforce social work beliefs.

Dr Kam compared social workers to fireflies to signify the role social workers play in helping the disadvantaged. He hoped the book would give the same support to social work students and practitioners.

“The fundamental beliefs are the most important,” Dr Kam said. “We hope to explain this message in a simple way, inspiring readers to put themselves in someone else’s position, and we also hope to help social workers realize their fallacies and rekindle their beliefs. We believe that the self-discipline and professional ethics we uphold are the inner impetus for improvement in the social work profession.”

At the book launch on 30 September, Professor Richard Ho Yan-ki, Vice-President (Undergraduate Education) said the social work profession adhered to clear values and professional ethics.

“We are pleased to see a group of teachers devoting time and energy not only to teaching but to the development of the industry, exemplifying again our commitment to professional education,” he said. “The new book thoroughly explains the kinds of problems students and practitioners encounter. It’s a soul-searching experience for the readers.”

After the ceremony, CityU hosted a seminar entitled “Upholding fundamental beliefs for future challenges”, to discuss further how to strengthen and maintain social work values in university curriculum and the actual social work, despite everyday constraints and problems.

The three speakers were Mr Tsui Cheung-ling, the winner of the first Hong Kong Outstanding Social Worker Prize, Dr Kam and Mr Lai Sau-man, a veteran social worker in elderly services.

The book launch and seminar attracted an audience of more than 150 social workers and students.


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