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Social work courses see rising interest

As companies move beyond business transactions to give back to the community in more meaningful ways, some foreign educational institutions are reporting a spike in the number of Indian students who opt for social work courses.

Some European universities contacted by ET said social work courses are becoming important due to companies’ CSR (corporate social responsibility) spending rules.

A spokesperson for the University of Plymouth said Indian students are particularly keen on two social work courses at the university, adding that the uptrend in social work in India is a contributing factor.

The CSR rules, which came into effect in April 2014, state that companies with a net worth of `500 crore or revenue of `1,000 crore or net profit of `5 crore should spend 2% of their average profit in the last three years on social development-related activities.

A recent Nasscom foundation report points to a rise in industry CSR spending, with over 60% of the surveyed companies reporting 100% utilisation of CSR funds. Andrea Nolan, principal and vice chancellor at Edinburgh Napier University, said, “Beyond the classroom, it is important for students to engage in social volunteer work as well as social responsibility.”

Authorities at Goldsmiths University said the number of Indian students applying for postgraduate courses offered by the department of social, therapeutic and community studies (STACS) has been increasing since 2015.

The MA, MPhil and PhD programmes in social work receive one or two applications from India each year, they said, adding that more international students are opting for these courses now.

University of Glasgow offers courses in social policy/public policy. These include postgraduate courses taught for community development, working with adults, social change and youth work.

Pari Jhaveri, senior partner at executive search firm Transearch India who has done her master’s in social work from the Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, said there is a big demand for such candidates abroad, particularly in the US, the UK and Australia.

“A lot of them tend to stay back, and many who come back, join independent non-profits. However, now the CSR arms of Indian companies are actively hiring as well, which has resulted in a jump in average salaries,” said Jhaveri.

A recent Nasscom foundation report points to a rise in industry CSR spending, with over 60% of the surveyed companies reporting 100% utilisation of CSR funds.

Reference: The Economic Times

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