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Focus of SPRING Programme

At KNUST, the focus of the SPRING programme is to equip students with skills to formulate, implement and manage development plans and programmes for the local level, or other sub-national administrative units in the real-life context of a developing country. International students doing the second year at KNUST are required to take four core courses and one elective course selected from three options. In addition, each student is required to write and submit a MSc. Thesis.

PL 611 Spatial Statistics
PL 613 Planning Survey and Research Methods
PL 621/2 Workshop in Development Planning and Management I/II


PL 615 Governance of Development
PL 617 Political Economy of Development
PL 619 Sociology of Development


PL 621/2 District Development Planning and Management Workshop


Course Description

The course is designed to equip planning students with statistical skills needed to perform basic spatial and socio-economic analyses relevant to the formulation, implementation, management and evaluation of development policies and plans. Students will learn the basic techniques of descriptive and inferential statistics, bivariate and multivariate analyses, as well as spatial analytical techniques that are used by planners throughout the profession. Topics covered include: measurement scales; graphical presentation of data; measures of central tendency and dispersion; correlation and regression analysis; functional linkages and market analysis; accessibility and development; goal achievement matrix; and other spatial techniques. The use of computers and the availability of computer software for statistical analysis will be stressed.

The course presents “Development” as a process of change that needs to be planned, organised, directed and controlled within a “governance” framework.  Central to the governance framework are institutional structures, roles and procedures, and multi-stakeholder participation and cooperation. This is a seminar course that requires each student to research and make written and oral presentations on a given topic, which will be selected from areas such as:

  • Different ways of thinking about governance
  • Decentralisation, popular participation, gender issues, district assemblies and performance, sub-district structures, and supporting legislations.
  • Gender and Development
  • Economic governance and management:  Economic policy formulation within social and political context; public sector reforms, justification reform programmes and expected outputs: decentralised development planning and management.
  • Corporate governance:  Corporations, SMEs, partnerships, micro credits, socio-economic development and governance: issues of distributive justice, accountability and transparency, justice and access to it.

The course is primarily concerned with various issues bordering on the interaction between politics, economics, society and culture. It deals with the current empirical reality, theory, concepts, history, and current governance and policy problems of development, poverty, and inequality. The course introduces participants to a range of contemporary issues in development. It takes a critical and political economy approach to the processes of economic and human development, emphasising the interaction of politics with the economy, as well as society and culture. The course introduces participants to different strands of development theory and the debates between these different strands. It focuses on the way these different theoretical approaches have shaped development relations, processes, institutions, and policies; the trends and assessment of poverty, inequality and development; and the politics of interaction between the developing and developed world.

The course considers the origins, organisation, institutions and associated sociological issues that influence spatial development. The application of development strategies and theories and how they have influenced societal changes are dealt with; the role of culture, norms, and values of society in shaping the outcomes of the policies and practices are also explored. It is expected that at the end of the course, students will have a good appreciation of the importance of theory for understanding development policy and practice, and how development strategies and theories influence societal change; or are themselves influenced by sociological contexts within which they are applied. A broad range of contemporary issues such as gender, conflicts, governance and change are discussed to enable the students acquire a good appreciation of the complexities surrounding spatial development.

The course is the main component of the SPRING Programme in the second year. It focuses on the analysis of the local level to portray a wide range of grass-root development problems. Its emphasis is on development management at an intermediate level between the macro-regional or national level and community-based planning. In Ghana, this refers to the Metropolitan, Municipal or District Assembly (MMDA) level. The Development Planning Workshop is seen as a problem-oriented management tool.
The objective of the workshop is to provide students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge that they acquired in development planning theory, principles, techniques and methods during the first year of the course to a real-world situation.

Focus of SPRING Programme