CARITAS – College of Social Work Olomouc is a church catholic school founded by the Archbishop of Olomouc in 1995. CARITAS offers 2 study programmes: Social Work and Humanitarian Work and a parallel 3-year Bachelor’s degree study programme in the cooperation with Sts. Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology of Palacky University in Olomouc. Currently, appr. 400 students study at the College; 260 are full-time students and 140 are part-time students.It runs Educational and Training Centre that organizes further education for social work professionals, and Practical Education Centre that organizes work placements for students.
The College employs 18 internal lecturers, 34 external lecturers, and 12 administrative and other workers. Its budget is 26,5 mil. Kč (in 2015) and the main sources of funding are government subsidies, Olomouc county subsidy, tution fees, CMTF UP, Erasmus + projects, and OP HRE projects. The College cooperates with wide range of organizations including 90 local NGOs, 50 foreign social and humanitarian NGOs in more than 40 countries, OCTC and Brescia University in the USA, Katholische Stiftungsfachhochschule München and Katholische Stiftungsfachhochschule Benediktbeuern in Germany, and many others.
CARITAS aims to provide qualified and practically oriented education to future social work and humanitarian work professionals in order to work effectively and professionaly. It strives to teach students (1) to work with respect to basic human needs (physical, psychological, social and spiritual), (2) to develop skills and personality of service users, (3) critical thinking.
The inventive study programme was conceived on the grounds of an analysis of certain trends in social issues and current needs on the part of employers. It responds to a calling from humanitarian organisations for special and systematic preparation of humanitarian workers and the needs of institutions providing assistance to minority groups, migrants and immigrants.
Graduates are prepared for work in various types of organisations and institutions providing assistance to immigrants and minorities in the Czech Republic as well as abroad within the frame of humanitarian assistance. They are equipped with both theoretical as well as practical knowledge and skills, including stress management, necessary for the performance of these demanding professions.
Studying at CARITAS – College of Social Work Olomouc has an international dimension manifested in different areas – student internships abroad, teacher exchanges, attendance and participation of pedagogues at international conferences, foreign guest lectures at the college, exchange and transfer of know-how and innovations. The College cooperates with organizations in more than 40 countries across 4 continents.
CARITAS has a long term cooperation with OCTC - Owensboro Community and Technical College, Owensboro, Kentucky which started in 2009. In 2011 the two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they agreed and arranged cooperation in student placements, staff training and teaching staff exhanges. Since 2012 the College has had a new partner a private catholic university- Brescia University which mainly provides opportunity for students of CARITAS to do internships.
The College is implementing a number of projects within the framework of international cooperation that help to finance its activities such as Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci and other projects including smaller grant projects and bilateral/multilateral agreements between organizations.
Within the Erasmus International Mobility Project, CARITAS organised a Humanitarian Networkshop for 10 representatives from 5 partner countries (India, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Moldova and Azerbaijan) in Olomouc in autumn 2016. The aim of the workshop was to exchange knowledge and practices with regards to social and humanitarian work in each country. Our partners gave public lectures in Block of Experts, had discussions with staff and students, visited local NGOs, took part in a Dance evening supporting children from Syria and last but not least one of our partners from Mexico had a public screening of a documentary movie ‚De Nadie – No One‘ about migrants on the way from Central America to the U.S.
Members of staff, especially the faculty also have the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge abroad. Employees are offered internships in countries of the EU as well as other continents and teaching stays in countries of the EU as well as other continents. The College arranges participation or provide information about conferences, workshops, training seminars and European and international projects related to social and humanitarian work.
Recently, CARITAS takes part in BuildPHE Assessment project under EURASHE that aims to enhance quality of vocational/professional education in Europe and to identify areas for futher development using benchmarking tools and learning from other institutions of professional education and their experience.
CARITAS – College of Social Work Olomouc aims to educate its students in promoting inter-cultural dialogue, peaceful coexistence and respect between cultures. The students then pass on their knowledge and experience gained during the internships by means of public presentations which help to raise awarness of problems in other countries among general public. Last year the Head of Practical Education Center also organized panel discussions about migration, all of which were very successful in promoting the objective outlook on migration. The College also organises Fairtarde breakfasts and its students were involved in a fund-raising campaign for refugees. The underlying objective of all of these activities is the peaceful coexistence and respect between cultures.
The contribution of CARITAS to the Network in the Czech Republic can be seen in offering a new dimension of intercultural dialogue based on its specialization of Humanitarian and Social Work. The College can also provide premises and experts from the field of development and human rights for initiatives, trainings and similar events organised by ALF. CARITAS can be the source of information for other NGOs in the Network, it can offer attractive premises right in the center of Olomouc for trainings, workshops or meeting of ALF and its members, it can share the experience and capacities gained in international mobility projects etc.
CARITAS – College of Social Work would like to be part of the Network which promotes the inter-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding of the Euro-Mediterranean Region and which bridges the gaps in mutual perceptions, as well as promotes diversity and coexistence since these are goals and values the College and the ALF Network share. It would also provide a unique opportunity to take part in projects, workshops and meetings with representatives of various institutions across Euro-Mediterranean Region which would expand the school’s horizons and positively effect not only its students, and staff but also the general public in Olomouc Region.