Development of multicultural competence in social work education
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Globalization and modernization of society, cultural differences on the one hand and mixture of cultures on the other hand requires multicultural competence from helping professionals, including social workers. According to scientific literature, multicultural competence, as well as other professional competences, consists of knowledge, attitudes and skills, the education of which should be consistent, continuous and lasting whole lifetime. In order to assess multicultural competence development in social work education, research was conducted surveying social work fourth-year students and interviewing graduates with international social work practice. Respondents were asked about different aspects of multicultural education during their studies: knowledge and skills necessary for multicultural competence, multicultural experience, multicultural competences and social work education. Data analysis showed that students’ opinion about knowledge and skills related to multicultural competence is positive, but critical. They themselves defined what they need for improvement of their multicultural competence. Survey research revealed that social work student during their studies exercised at least three forms of multicultural social work: activities at the national level, professional exchange of knowledge and international practice. Social work graduates with multicultural social work practice stated that multicultural competence not only enables social workers for an easier free movement within the European Union labour market, possibility to participate in the creation of European social capital, but also have a positive impact on personal and professional growth.
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