THE Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) is taking further its thrust as a university for the people with the establishment of the School of Social Work, which will upgrade and expand the offerings of the existing Department of Social Work.

The PLM Board of Regents approved the proposal in its October 21 meeting. It was a product of careful planning with the help of former Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) chief and now PLM Presidential Adviser for Social Work Judy Taguiwalo.

The university first offered the Bachelor of Science in Social Work program in 1970, and has produced graduates who have performed well in licensure examinations—the latest of which was being the third-best performing school in the country in 2017. Many of the graduates pursued their professional careers in government agencies and private institutions.

The existing Department of Social Work has produced at most 88 graduates per year since 1973, with 237 students currently enrolled in the undergraduate program for Academic Year 2021-2022.

The department, currently part of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has three full-time and five part-time faculty members. Upgrading the unit into a school will require the hiring of additional faculty and staff to cater to additional enrollees, as well as improvements to the program’s curriculum; field instruction; library and other learning resources; research and publications; as well as linkages with public, private and civil-society organizations.

Social-protection programs, resettlement projects, hospitals, schools, and programs of corporate-social responsibility require the skills and commitment of social workers.

Members of the PLM Board of Regents found the proposal timely in the face of the pandemic, which exposed the huge number of Filipinos needing government assistance following a series of lockdowns, business closures, and job losses.

“The pandemic highlighted just how important the role is of social workers in ensuring that the needs of every Filipino family are met,” said PLM President Emmanuel Leyco, who was once undersecretary and officer in charge of the DSWD. “This is the way PLM can contribute to nation-building at a time when poverty, hunger, and inequity are more pronounced.”

PLM is a publicly funded university supported by the City of Manila.

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