Social work education in Nigeria and the search for enhanced local relevance: perspectives from social work academics

Ngozi Eucharia Chukwu (Lead / Corresponding author), Susan Levy, Uju Patricia Agbawodikeizu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Social work education should be responsive to local practices. This qualitative study, based on interviews with six social work academics, in four Nigerian universities, explored the development of social work education in Nigeria, and the integration of local content into counter-hegemonic Western knowledge. A Key Informant Interview (KII) guide based around key themes was used for data collection. The findings reveal local content is being integrated into social work programmes. However, the dearth of locally relevant literature to inform and support contextually relevant social work education/practice means students are receiving indigenous, local knowledge largely through the experiential knowledge of academics, students, and community representatives; case examples; f ield practicum; and the creative use of languages and cultural diversity. We offer recommendations for sustainable approaches for integrating indigenous knowledge into Nigerian/African social work education. First, we build the empirical foundation of Nigerian social work through further research and publication of existing research to generate new knowledge and understanding, including transferring existing experiential knowledge into an accessible published format. Second, there are regular staff development workshops, seminars, and training for social work educators (both academics and practitioners). Third, we open up the curriculum review process to be inclusive of practitioners, service users/community representatives, and early-career academics. What is crucial in relation to each of the three recommendations is embedding local knowledge into social work curricula.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Work Education
Early online date22 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 2022


  • Social work education
  • indigenous knowledge
  • local relevance
  • social work educators
  • Nigeria
  • Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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