Human rights at the heart of the social work curriculum

Didier Reynaert, Peter Dijkstra, Jeroen Knevel, Jeannette Hartman, Michel Tirions, Clodagh Geraghty, Jeroen Gradener, Michiel Lochtenberg, Rudy van den Hoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Social work policy and practice all over the world continue to face the impact of the neoliberal agenda. Similarly, social work education has been subject to the economic and political changes, with an increasing emphasis on a discourse of ‘evidence-based practice’. However, it is the core of social work programs in higher education to initiate students in the fundamental values of social work, as they are recognized in the global definition of social work. In order to prepare future social workers for their assignment, human rights should be given an explicit place in the social work curricula at Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. For human rights to gain more attention in social work programs in higher education, a Manifesto was written by lecturers’ social work in the Netherlands and Flanders, with a 5-point program to include human rights in the social work curricula. In this article, we elaborate on the five objectives that are presented in the Manifesto. Throughout the paper, we introduce small ‘case examples’ of how human rights can be integrated in education. These experiences show the importance of developing a particular social work perspective on human rights that is found in the idea of ‘human rights from below.’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-33
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Human rights at the heart of the social work curriculum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this