Service user involvement in social work education : a juxtaposition of practices in England and South Africa
Please cite as follows:
Engelbrecht, L. K. 2010. Service user involvement in social work education : a juxtaposition of practices in England and South Africa. The Social Work Practitioner-Researcher, 22(2):154-170.
The original publication is available at http://www.uj.ac.za/EN/Faculties/humanities/departments/socialwork/TheSocialWorkPractionerResearcherJournal/Pages/Journal.aspx
Service user involvement in all aspects of social work education is increasing rapidly in a number of countries worldwide and undergirds principles of social development, a rights-based approach and citizen participation, which are peculiar to social work in South Africa. However, the involvement of service users beyond students' field work, practised as a mandatory requirement in countries such as England, is not common in South African social work education. With the aim to promote local debate on this contemporary global topic, this article embarks on a literature informed juxtaposition of contexts and practices in England and South Africa in order to examine the potential applicability of service user involvement in South African social work education. It is concluded in this article that although the involvement of service users has the potential to bring “real life” into social work education, the involvement of service users without extensive debate and reflection would be ill-considered in the South African context.