Social workers from all around the world will now be able to access courses on a new online training platform, launched by former president S R Nathan on Thursday.
The website was set up by the Global Institute of Social Work (GISW), which recently registered as a non-profit organisation here. The portal is the brainchild of Professor Tan Ngoh Tiong, dean of the School of Human Development and Social Services at SIM University.
Prof Tan, who is also chairman of the GISW international advisory board, said: "My heart is for the training of social workers in developing countries... If you can train one good social worker, you can impact 100 families."
Ms Ang Bee Lian, director of social welfare at the Ministry of Social and Family Development, welcomed the new website.
She said: "Social work in Singapore has matured to a stage where we can contribute to the region and to the world.
"There is also value in such sites because it allows you to access information at the point of need in a very convenient way."
The first course uploaded to the www.thegisw.org site covers social work in school settings.
It was developed by Students Care Service executive director Wu Mei Ling and senior social worker Zhuang Xin Yan. The Students Care Service is a voluntary welfare organisation which helps troubled youth.
Prof Tan said he hopes to have about 100 courses, featuring materials from different universities and training institutes, on the website by the end of next year.
Discussion forums are also in the pipeline. People have to sign up to be members - it is free until the end of this year - to view the course material. From next year, users will have to pay membership fees, which will cost $10 for individuals each year and $100 for organisations.
Speaking at the launch, held at the International Involvement Hub in Orchard Road, Mr Nathan said the platform could also be useful to those outside the social work profession.
He said: "Hopefully it will be an endeavour that will receive support for all interested and engaged in addressing human problems in our society."
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