Controversy Debate on Gatekeeping in Social Work Education

By Dora M.Y. Tam and Siu Ming Kwok.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Social workers are either university or college educated before they begin practicing. The integrity of the profession is highly dependent upon competent gatekeeping activities performed before and during educational programs (Gibbs & Macy, 2000). The process of gatekeeping requires assessing individuals’ suitability based on the criteria set by the implementing institution or organization - screening in and retaining suitable individuals, and screening out or diverting unsuitable persons. Gatekeeping in social work education is critical in order to retain public confidence in the profession’s ability to train high quality and ethical practitioners (Moore & Jenkins, 2000). However, gatekeeping in social work education is a controversial topic. Some people consider gatekeeping a sugarcoated mechanism to promote elitism and monopoly; some people considered gatekeeping as a needed mechanism to assure quality of social work education. This paper discusses controversial arguments on gatekeeping in social work education. The arguments are categorized into philosophical and practical ground. Suggestions, due process and affirmative action, are presented to overcome some shortfalls of gatekeeping in social work education.

Keywords: Gatekeeping, Social Work Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp.195-204. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 721.135KB).

Dr. Dora M.Y. Tam

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, King's University College at the University of Western Ontario, Canada

Dr. Siu Ming Kwok

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, King's University College at the University of Western Ontario, Canada


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