V. 2001–2003:
Yhteistyöhanke Venäjän sosiaalityön koulutuksen kehittämisen tukemiseksi

V. 2004–2006:
Sosiaalityö ja kansalaisyhteiskunta Venäjän lähialueilla:
teoria, käytäntö, opetus ja verkostoituminen -hanke.

Networking of Social Work Education in North-West Russia

The Department of Social Work at the University of Lapland started the coordinated cooperative work to develop the social work education in neighbouring areas in Russia in 2001. During the years 2001 – 2006 it has created the functional cooperative network with social work units of higher education in North-West Russia and other Eastern European countries. The international network has consisted of twelve units: nine (9) universities/institutes from Russia (Arkhangelsk, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Murmansk, Petrozavodsk, St. Petersburg), two (2) from Lithuania (Kaunas, Vilnius) and one (1) from Poland (Poznan). The projects have been carried out in cooperation with the Finnish National University Network for Social Work (Sosnet). The main actors from Finland have been the universities of Lapland and Kuopio, and the University of Lapland has acted as a coordinator of cooperation.

During the years 2001 – 2006 there have been carried out two projects: 1) The Cooperative Project to Support the Development of Social Work Training in Russia, and 2) Social Work and Civil Society in Neighbouring Areas in Russia. The projects have been funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the responsibility for theirs implementation has lied with the Finnish Ministry of Education.

In the first project, carried out during the years 2001 – 2003, the focus in cooperation was in creation of the network and the development of practice training in social work studies. The second project, carried out during the years 2004 – 2006, continued the supportive work of strengthening the status of social work and its education. It purposed for strengthening the connection of social work education to the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and these activities, especially at the areas of Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Kaliningrad, and Republic of Karelia.

The main results of the projects have been: 1) The functional cooperative network between Finnish, Russian, Lithuanian and Polish universities, 2) Publication of two social work study books in Russian language, and their dissemination for all Russian universities teaching social work, 3) Development of contents of study programmes in social work, especially in the level of practical training in the cooperative universities, 4) Strengthening the status of social work education and supporting the start of social work study programme in Kaliningrad region, 5) Strengthening the expertise in the questions of civil society in Russia in the cooperative universities, 6) Teachers’ and students’ exchanges between the Finnish and Russian universities as well as between the Russian universities, 7) Training and cooperation seminars and international conferences for social work teachers, 8) Creation of regional cooperative networks in the sphere of social work universities, NGOs and authorities in Arkhangelsk, Kaliningrad, Murmansk and Petrozavodsk, 9) Regional training seminars and development activities in Arkhangelsk, Kaliningrad, Murmansk and Petrozavodsk. The most significant results of projects have been the study books for the teachers and students in Russia. For example, the handbook of practical training in social work “Social work – Introduction for Professional Activities”, which was published in 2004, got the recommendation of Russian Ministry of Education, and the publication has been used widely in teaching of social work in Russia.

The Department of Social Work has carried out student and teacher exchanges between the Finnish and Russian universities within the FIRST programme since the autumn 2004. The network has consisted of six Russian universities/institutes in Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and Petrozavodsk and two Finnish universities (Lapland and Eastern Finland).