Sunday, April 10, 2011

WRITING A RESEARCH PROPOSAL (SYNOPSIS)

NB: This is a digression from the series of articles on Rural Education in Ghana. This is aimed at helping friends and colleagues who are currently writing their research proposal.

1.0 Introduction
Normally, at the ending of the year before students enter their final year at the university whether reading a postgraduate programme or undergraduate programme their concern are narrowed down to not only their examinations but the thesis/research they would undertake in their final year. Most often, students become aggrieved and confused as to the research topic to choose and how to go about it. Although most students are taught research methods, the applications of the principles at this stage elude a lot of them and therefore efforts at helping them appreciate the situation and overcome this challenge is always welcomed. This write-up presents the issues of writing a research proposal and the approach students can adopt. Although these vary across several schools, the outline below applies to a majority of them. For the purposes of this paper, emphasis has been placed on writing a research proposal on development issues.

Friday, April 1, 2011

THE STATE OF RURAL AREAS AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT – AN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT

The rural poor are part of an ancient and well-established social structure, and efforts to improve their productivity without regard to this structure are likely to be frustrated.
World Bank (1978)

Introduction
The rural development situation as is being propagated by scholars in the last decade is no different from past trends. Impoverishment and deprivation are manifest of the lag in development of rural areas of the world especially in developing countries with the urban areas experiencing the chunk of economic development and growth. The 1978 World Development report asserts that:

“Historical experience suggests that the poorer members of the population are unlikely to share equitably in economic growth, mainly because they have less access to the productive assets needed to generate incomes, land, credit, education, and jobs in the modern sector. In the poorest countries, with their slow average rate of growth, the incomes and consumption levels of the poorer half of the population have stagnated. Worse, in countries where agriculture has expanded more slowly than population (parts of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa), the incomes of some of the rural population has declined” (World Bank, 1978).

The above paragraph provides glimpses of the past which are semblance of current trends of the state of rural areas around the world. The proportions of the population living in absolute poverty are still high and are found in rural areas. About 40 percent of the population of developing countries, nearly 800 million people, were living in absolute poverty by 1978 and in 2009 the proportion has increased to 70 percent; an increase of 30 percent; demonstrating worsening trends in terms of the welfare of the rural folk despite advancement and innovation in interventions, technology and investments (World Bank, 1978; Cleveringa et. al 2009). This presupposes that interventions to enhancing livelihoods in rural areas have not been generally effective from an international perspective and even though significant improvements may have been achieved on country by country basis, international efforts must start reflecting on a paradigm shift and a self assessment of international agents’ roles in promoting rural development. This paper attempts to present a discussion of the characteristics of rural areas and the trends in their populations, their development and what has been the international response to the past and emerging challenges.