Welcome to Rural Education and Development (EDDE 304)! This course will provide an in-depth understanding of rural education in relation to different development models and theories. The course will explore various case studies of education, rurality and rural development. Development (studies) is a multidisciplinary field encompassing economics, sociology, human geography, history, anthropology, and of course, education. Education is one of the institutions recognised internationally as playing a vital role in the progress and development of societies. In this course, we will critically engage with the theories and practices of development in time and space, especially in the dynamic world economy of the post-WW II era. The module will obviously make strong references to rural education.

 

Rural areas have been, and continue to be influenced by a wide range of factors including international and development policies, various development institutions, modernisation, globalisation, migration and urbanisation. These processes have changed the social, economic, political and spatial fabric and functioning of rural areas. We may argue that rural areas are ‘hybrid spaces’ of these different processes. This course will focus on the understanding of rurality in the modern context as well as various development theories, models and practices that have affected rural spaces, making strong references to rural education.

 

You are required to do ALL the prescribed reading. Students are encouraged to read intensively and extensively (books and journals) in the in the fields of education, development studies and rural development. At the same time, students must re-imagine development and education, and critique contemporary understandings and practices of rural education and development. A critique does not necessarily mean criticising what you do not like; the Oxford Dictionary defines a 'critique' as "a detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory". For example, to analyse capitalism, Karl Marx wanted to understand and get to “the root of capitalist society, to delve into its ‘hidden abode’, to go beyond the fetishisms of observable appearance, and to trace out its ‘inner dynamics’ holistically, in all its gory horror”. He did this by using dialectics as a method and turned Hegel’s idealism into ‘materialism, hence dialectical materialism. Students are encouraged to engage with historical and current debates in the fields of rurality, development studies and rural education. At the same, we must question conventional approaches, theories and paradigms. For example, Wangari Maathai invites us to the notion of the 'wrong bus syndrome':

 

“Like travellers who have boarded the wrong bus, many people and communities are heading in the wrong direction or traveling on the wrong path, while allowing others (often their leaders) to lead them further from their desired destination.”

 

Regarding the current state of the world, are we in the right direction? Are current policies of rural development and education heading in the right direction? I would like us to ask these questions throughout the course.