The Department of Basic Education’s Expectations of Social Workers at South African Schools




school social work, Department of Basic Education, functions, expectations, South Africa


Although the number of school social workers in South Africa has increased substantially in the past decade, the exact expectations that they should meet are still unclear. This deficiency was redressed in a national survey of the senior managers of all nine provincial departments of basic education, the systems in South Africa that employ most of the country’s school social workers. The survey produced a detailed and prioritised list of the responsibilities and functions that these practitioners are expected to perform. This inventory of expectations could be used as a guide in the training of local school social workers, in research into this field, in the further development of this specialisation and, ultimately, in school social work practice itself. The survey also revealed that marked differences existed in the way in which the provinces appoint, manage, use and name such practitioners. It indicated that the current school social work system is somewhat inequitable because some provinces have far too few school social workers for their learner population and also because there is a dire need for more social workers throughout the country. The national survey, in the final analysis, exposed a need for the overall “standardisation” of social work at South African schools.


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Author Biography

Marelize Vergottini, North-West University

HOD Learner Support, Grey College


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How to Cite

Vergottini, Marelize, and Mike Weyers. 2022. “The Department of Basic Education’s Expectations of Social Workers at South African Schools”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34 (3):24 pages.



Received 2021-04-27
Accepted 2021-10-29
Published 2022-10-06