07 June 2019 Volume :7 Issue :32

Social Work Academic in Germany on Internationalisation for Building Competencies Project

Social Work Academic in Germany on Internationalisation for Building Competencies Project
UKZN academic Dr Maud Mthembu (front row, second left) pictured at the the University of Johannesburg with postgraduate social work students and staff from Fachhochschule Dortmund University, Germany.

Social Work lecturer Dr Maud Mthembu was in Germany as part of the Internationalisation for Building Competencies project (IFBC) - a partnership between UKZN, Fachhochschule Dortmund University and the University of Johannesburg.

The three-year Project (2019-2021) is a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)-funded collaboration between the three universities with the goal being the conception, testing, implementation and establishment of new modules with theory-practice-reference and trans-disciplinary components.

Mthembu was invited by the University of Dortmund to give a series of lecturers to undergraduate and postgraduate social work students. During the visit, she also shared her experience of growing up during the apartheid era and this presentation attracted interest from local media. 

It was her third visit to the German University and the content of her lectures reflected some of the literature on single mothers and their economic livelihood experiences which is the theme of the current joint research project. 

‘There is always a warm welcome from the University and strong networks have been built with local social work NGOs which we visit each time we are in Germany,’ said Mthembu. ‘Challenges such as budget cuts in welfare expenditure are also reported in Germany and the rise of single mothers and single fathers households is becoming a common family structure while in the past it was frowned upon.’

The next visit to Dortmund University will be in December this year when six UKZN social work students will be at the University on a two-week programme.

‘The students will be exposed to robust debates on globalisation and poverty, social justice and human rights and other global issues that affect humanity as well as how the social work profession should respond to these challenges,’ she said.

‘Through the planned visits to various NGOs, they will be exposed to the structure of the welfare system in Germany and the role of social workers in schools.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Michael Boecker

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