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European Master in Social Work
Start date: Oct 1, 2009,

RationalePromoting social inclusion is one of the most important policy aims of the European Union. This is already indicated by the fact that 2007 was the European year of equal opportunities for all, and 2010 will be the European year for combating poverty and social exclusion.‘Active inclusion’ is a key item of the European social agenda, as are social security, social integration, and community employment policy.In the “Joint report on social protection and social conclusion” (2008) it says:“Social and economic policies can and should be mutually supportive. In recent years social protection reforms and active inclusion policies have contributed to higher growth and more jobs. Still, more needs to be done to ensure that the benefits of an improved economic framework reach those at the margins of society and enhance social cohesion. Preventing and tackling poverty and social exclusion, and modernising social protection, combining both social adequacy and economic sustainability (…)”. Furthermore, it says: “Employment rates have risen for all categories of older workers. Active inclusion measures, pension and labour market reforms have improved incentives to work but still more people need to work. Furthermore, they should stay economically active longer. Together with effortsto improve productivity this will contribute to a sounder base for social protection systems (…).The Master course to be developed will focus on themes closely related to the European policy aims mentioned above.ResultsThe result of the project will be a joint European Master course in Social Work. It will be a part time course, offered to already employed social workers from various countries, thus enabling these to combine study and practice in a fruitful way. The course will be developed and offered by 7 universities from 6 countries.The 90 ECTS course will consist of a core semester, followed by specializations, between which students can choose. The core semester will go into: European social politics, the social welfare state/enabling State, knowledge development, methodology and interdisciplinary cooperation. Also two supportive themes will be included: specific use of social work terms in English (the course will be offered in English) and an introduction in working with distance learning methods (vital to a part time course offered to students working in various countries).The second and third semester will be dedicated to specializations such as: intercultural social work, gerontology, healthy ageing, social law, labour law, labour and social inclusion, integration of disadvantaged groups, rehabilitation, social policy of international organizations and human rights and social work. All themes will have a strong European emphasis.The final semester is the 'Master proof': thesis.Each semester/elective starts with an intensive week of studies at one of the partner universities, depending on the specialization. After that, students will work on assignments, cases etc., related to their actual work as much as possible. In between the intensive weeks, tutoring and communication between the students themselves will be done by distance/e-learning methods (without which a part time course such as this would not be feasible). The core semester is offered in the same way, with two joined weeks in stead of one. Students will follow at least four electives, after the core semester, and will therefore visit at least two countries/partners; most of them 3 or 4.Students will receive at least two diploma’s (from their home university and at least one partner university), as well as a special certificate from the consortium as such.ImpactThe impact of the course will be that students will have gained good insight in European aspects of social work, related to themes as mentioned above. On the longer run, this will add to the quality of European social work and methods and guidance concerning social inclusion of individuals and groups.

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