Social work students at Memorial University have started a petition for fair compensation and fee removal. They state that social work students who complete a Bachelor of Social Work at MUN are required to undertake no less than 700 hours of unpaid practicum placements.
They raise the concern that increasing tuition costs place an additional financial burden on students, forcing many to obtain outside employment to pay their university fees and living expenses, with some also having to support dependents.
“Inadequate funding for preceptorship and independent placements fails to recognize the significant time and effort invested by social work students during these critical experiences,” they state.
They state that social work students engaged in internship placements and full-time studies find it challenging to maintain part-time employment, which impedes their ability to cover educational and living expenses.
They also state that the lack of sustainable funding for community not-for-profit workplaces adversely affects the employment opportunities of social work students, hindering their development and growth.
The students in the Faculty of Social Work are asking the administration at Memorial University and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to allocate funding to support community not-for-profits that provide placements, fair compensation during internship placements, and the removal of the fees associated with the field practica (internships).
They’re requesting funding for not-for-profits to ensure those workplaces can afford to offer fair compensation to social work students. “Adequate funding will recognize the time and effort invested by social work students and enable them to focus on their professional development without financial hardship.”
They state that the compensation should “align with the compensation provided for a minimum living wage, and it should be made possible through the aforementioned sustainable funding.”
Regarding the removal of the fees, they state, “It is unjust for social work students to bear the financial burden for these fees, and their removal will alleviate the financial strain faced by students and ensure equitable treatment compared to students in other programs.”
See the full petition below:
Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.