Social Workers
Social WorkersPhoto: iStock

Students who completed a master's degree in social work at Ariel University discovered that they cannot register as social workers.

Israeli Reshet Bet Radio reported that the Council for Social Work in the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs does not recognize the Ariel University degree even though the three-year program is similar to what is offered at other universities in Israel.

For several years, Ariel University has been operating a program for a master's degree in social work for those who have not first completed a bachelor's degree in the field, and are not, therefore, registered as professional social workers at the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs. Similar programs have been operating in universities throughout Israel for students who completed first degrees in other unrelated subjects. In this program, students do an additional year of studies that provides them with the background in social work necessary for continuing on to the master’s program.

According to Ariel University publications, at least until a few weeks ago, at the end of their three years of studies, students receive a degree that qualifies them for a license to practice social work.

The university recently corrected its publications by adding a note stating that the program depends on the approval of the Social Work Council, a note that was not there when they opened the program several years ago.

Ariel University responded: "Recently, it turned out that even though the university was granted recognition by the Council for Higher Education, and even though first-degree graduates from Ariel University are allowed to register as professional social workers, additional approval from the Social Work Council is required for the three-year master’s degree track. The university is working tirelessly to promote the recognition of these students and we believe that the issue will be resolved in the coming weeks."

The Higher Education Council stated: "The issue is being clarified with Ariel University. At the same time, it should be noted that the Higher Education Council is responsible for the content taught and the academic profile of the institution. The certification in question here is carried out by an external party, in this case, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs.

The Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs stated: "Since the program did not go through a preliminary process of recognition, as required by law, the Ministry has not yet recognized it. For the graduates to be able to register as social workers and legally practice the profession, a recommendation from a committee on behalf of the Social Work Council and recognition of the minister are required. The process of appointing the members of the committee and the council is underway. When this process is finished, the committee will meet and give the discussion of the program high priority in order to help students as quickly as possible."