Although the Department of Sociology expected to combine sociological theory and practice, the development of sociological studies followed a path more aligned to social anthropological and almost totally abandoned its initial aims to contribute to social welfare which would be the ultimate goal of social work. However, some members of the department were highly concerned about the social changes occurring in the country for decades which needed not only sociological explanation and analysis but also required theoretically informed intervention, which is the task of the discipline of Social Work. The situation intensified as the Indian Ocean Tsunami in December 2004 physically, economically and socially debilitated the country while already being severely affected by the ethnic conflict during the last three decades. The dearth of well trained social workers in the country was tangible during the time. However, the country did not have the capacity to produce adequate numbers of social workers due to the fact that none of the 15 universities in the country provided a degree programme in Social Work other than the National Institute of Social Development (Formerly, the School of Social Work) which was given the degree granting status in 2005.
In early 2005, a team from the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Social Work led by two senior professors engaged in a joint action research project with the Department of Sociology, initiated by Mr. Jagath Wellawatta, a senior lecturer in the department, in a Tsunami affected village in the South. This led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities for academic collaboration in the field of Social Work. In 2006, twelve students from the department accompanied by a senior lecturer visited Slovenia to participate in a month long intensive training programme in Social Work in March 2008, Prof Ramanie Jayatilaka and Dr. Subhangi Herath from the Department visited University of Ljubljana for a three month period on invitation as visiting scholars. During this period the final decisions were made to introduce social work as a stream of study within the special degree programme in sociology for a limited number of students as an initial step as the programme involves extensive practice training and close supervision and the relevant course outlines were developed in collaboration. The Department of Sociology is privileged to receive the consent of seven senior and highly reputed members from the Faculty of Social Work of the University of Ljubljana, who have contributed immensely to the development of Social Work in Slovenia to come to the University of Colombo to teach and conduct the courses in the initial three years until the first batch of students complete their degrees. It was agreed that the Department should also take measures to train its own academics in the field. In order to achieve this goal, the Faculty of Ljubljana agreed to offer two studentships for two doctoral students and the Department nominees for these two positions have been accepted by the University of Ljubljana, and the initiation of its first batch of students have been completed. Both the Department of Sociology and the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Work are searching for funding to further facilitate the doctoral studies programme. As a beginning, one course in Social Work per semester was introduced from November 2008.