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TOWARDS ACHIEVING ENHANCED ACCESS TO PRINTING EDUCATION IN NIGERIA: THE IMPERATIVES

Abdulrasheed Afolabi
Department of Printing Technology Yaba College of Technology afolabirasheed@yahoo.com

Published in Printing News Magazine, Vol 21, No: 102. May/June 2013 ISSN: 1117-6105

Introduction Universal access to education is one of the key targets of the Millennium Development goals. According to the National Policy on Education (2004) the provision of a land full of bright opportunities for all citizens is one of the five national objectives. As the National Policy indicates, education in Nigeria is directed towards self-realization, better human relationship, individual and n a t i o n a l ef f i c i e n c i e s , e ffe c t i v e citizenship, national consciousness, national unity, social, cultural, economic, political, scientific and technological progress. Given the backdrop that technical and vocational education is critical to the eradication of poverty in Nigeria, it is important that all persons, irrespective of their age, sex, race or background have access to training and development in all fields to arm them against poverty. However, the present Nigerian printing education system is not living up to expectation in this regard. According to Afolabi (2012: 22), like other technical and vocational aspects of education, printing education got relegated to the

background in spite of its huge opportunity t o e m p o w e r Nigerians to earn a good living and contribute to national development. At present, formal training in printing are only offered in technical colleges, vocational institutes and seven polytechnics (Yaba College of Technology, Kaduna Polytechnic, Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Kano State Polytechnic, Hussaini Adamu Federal Polytechnic, Jigawa and Benue State Polytechnic) across Nigeria. No university at present offers a distinct course in printing technology. The implication is that there is no avenue to produce upper level manpower for the printing industry in Nigeria since the Higher National Diploma offered by Nigerian polytechnics is targeted at fulfilling middle level manpower needs. Obtaining a degree in a print media studies requires going abroad to countries like Germany, United Kingdom, United States, India etc, at a cost that the average Nigerian cannot bear.

At the polyte chnic level there are also inhibitions. To study printing technology at both the ND and HND levels prospective applicants must be science-oriented. The 2009 P r i n t i n g Te c h n o l o g y C u r r i c u l u m prescribes the minimum entry requirement into the National Diploma in Printing Technology programme as five Credit level passes in Senior Certificate Examination (SSCE)/ National Examination Council (NECO) or National Technical Certificate (NTC) in not more than two sittings. The subjects must include the following: Mathematics, English, Chemistry/ Physics and any two of the following: Economics, Creative art, Technical Drawing, Accounting and Printing origination. Making Chemistry/Physics a compulsory requirement excludes non science students who want to take a career in the printing industry. Since a National Diploma (ND) in Printing Technology is the requirement for the HND Printing

Technology program, it is certain that non-science students have been cut off completely from any opportunity of undertaking formal training in printing in Nigeria. The argument for making chemistry/physics as compulsory for admission to a printing technology program in Nigerian polytechnics is that the course is science based and thus would require students who have foundation knowledge in science. But then, the argument stands as well that printing is a multidisciplinary field with a wide range of areas (Afolabi 2012: 22). A good example is print media management. This paper makes a case for the introduction of a print media management degree program in Nigeria's higher education system. Such a program will go a long way in broadening or diversifying printing education in Nigeria and by extension, providing greater access to higher education. Access to Education: Key to National Development Access to education is pivotal to a nation's economic growth just as it is key to poverty reduction. According to Okeke (2009 in Aluede, Idogho and Imonikhe, 2012: 4), access to education m e a n s f r e e a n d unlimited/unhindered/unfettered opportunities at each level of education to obtain knowledge, skills, and abilities available at that level needed to optimally participate and contribute to development in the society From the foresaid, access to higher education, no doubt, is critical, not only to the selfdevelopment of individual citizens, but to the economic growth and social development of a country in general. The goals of higher education, as stated in the National Policy on Education, (FRN, 2004: 36) are: i. contributing to national development through high level relevant manpower training; ii. developing and inculcating

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Printing is a multi-disciplinary course. vii. Muthalaly (2005) views print as communication media consisting of text and graphics arranged in a particular layout. Muthalaly explains that; To achieve the above, the importance of Printing is challenging as a access to education cannot be course as it is multi-disciplinary overemphasized. The importance in nature, encompassing study attached is crucial enough for the United of science, mathematics, States Agency for International mechanical, electrical and D e ve l o p m e nt ( U S A I D ) to m a ke chemical engineering with computer science and expanding access to higher education management subjects. and workforce development one of its key educational goals. As the USAID puts it, higher levels of education can raise Expectedly, printing technology is taught developing countries' productivity from different approaches given its significantly. The agency notes further; multi-disciplinary nature. While some schools teach the process aspect of As globalization increases the printing, some others offer it as an demand for higher-level skills, a engineering course; yet, some other growing number of young schools adopt a more flexible approach people in the developing world of offering students options within a find themselves without the general framework. In other parts of the relevant knowledge to fully world, formal training in printing is not participate in and contribute to limited to technical colleges and e c o n o m i c g r o w t h polytechnics. Unlike what obtains in Nigeria, universities abroad offer broad(www.usaid.gov). based training in printing, graphic arts Given the importance attached to and graphic communications. higher education, there has been a In India, printing technology is offered in massive demand for admission into six universities as an engineering degree higher institutions in Nigeria. While programme. For example, Anna there has been increase in higher University (the first to start a printing institutions, the demand has not really degree program) offers her Bachelor of been met in a significant way. As Akpan Engineering Printing Technology course and Undie 2007 (cited in Abdulkareem under the Faculty of Mechanical and Oduwaiye, 2008) note, while higher Engineering. In addition, the University

proper values for the survival of the individual and society developing the intellectual capability of the individuals to understand and appreciate t h e i r l o c a l a n d ex t e r n a l environments; acquiring both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be selfreliant and useful members of the society; promoting and encouraging scholarship and community service; forging and cementing national unity, and promoting national and international understanding and interaction.

institutions have increased, the issue of access to higher education has become a serious one. If the aspiration of the National Policy on Education that every Nigerian child shall have a right to equal educational opportunities irrespective of any unimagined disabilities, each according to his or her ability is anything to go by, then the issue of providing equal access to educational opportunities for all citizens must be on the front burner. Career Development and Training in the Printing Industry

offers Master of Technology (MTECH) and PhD in Printing Technology within the engineering perspective. In spite of her engineering focus, the Department's course structure is relatively diverse. In addition to engineering based subjects like mechanics of machines, strength of materials, electrical drives and control, imaging technology, etc, students are also given the option of taking electives in areas like visual communication, mass communication, book publishing, advertising techniques, marketing management and human resource management. The California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obisco in the United States is another instance of a well packaged flexible program offering that guarantees access for students to acquire diverse skills in the print and graphic arts industry. The interesting angle to CalPoly's package is the graphic communications touch which extends far beyond the traditional printing technology. The University has a graphic communication department that offers a curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Science degree. The department considers graphic communication as an art and a science, thus making its program to appeal to students having interests in creativity, science, technology and management. As the CalPoly's graphic communication Department puts it, The field of graphic communication represents a large profession, one of the largest in the world. The profession embraces change, requiring those pursuing graphic communication careers to learn new and diverse skills (www.grc.calpoly.edu). The Department notes that the discipline of graphic communication includes media and mass communication involving the creation, production, management and distribution of advertising, marketing,

web-sites, books, magazines, newspapers, catalogues, packages and other media in printed and digital form. The CalPoly's graphic communication program consists of the following options/concentrations: i. Design reproduction technology: this option or concentration focuses on design and technology for print and web. This area covers the traditional print production processes, digital imaging, computer graphics and other related areas. ii. Graphic communication management: this concentration offers students training opportunity in management careers in the graphic communication industry. In addition to the major graphic communication courses, students take business management related courses. iii. Graphics for Packaging: this is an interdisciplinary concentration with great emphasis on digital f i l e creation, technology and printing for the packaging industry. It is a program for students wishing to take up careers in the growing field of packaging. iv. Web and Digital media: this is the multi-media option of the graphic communication program. It emphasizes the latest trends in web development, production and distribution of digital media. Aside from major graphic communication courses, students offer courses in web technology and design, digital audio, animation, photography, interactive entertainment and video. Graduates of this option can take up jobs in web development, digital media production and management, hardware and software manufacturing, etc. In Europe, the Dublin Institute of Technology's Bachelor of Arts (Hons) programme in Print and Digital media technology management is also a reference point. The programme strives to meet the needs of contemporary print media industry through a flexible learning approach that encourages professional, managerial, technical and operations skills development. In line with this, course content is wide and

diverse, covering core print areas such as design and prepress, print and digital media, post press and packaging, print estimating and information technology. Other areas targeted at achieving diversity include; economics, management, quantitative methods, financial accounting, human resource management, marketing, operations management and digital asset management. As the name of the programme suggests, printing is taught from the management angle. Another interesting instance is Stuttgart Media University's Print Media Management Bachelor's degree program. This program, according to the University's website, is patterned towards the development, production and marketing of classic printed media and new on-and-offline media, effective company management and the relevant technologies. With an offer of two specializations (Engineering Management for Printing and Media, and for Packaging Technology), the aim of the program is to empower students to think in a businesslike and responsible way and to develop new potentials which take into account economic, technical, practice-oriented and ecological perspectives (http://www.hdm-stuttgart.de). I m p ro v i n g A c c es s t h ro u g h t h e Development of New Printing Program in Nigeria The non-availability of a distinct degree course in printing makes a compelling case for a degree program in printing management in Nigerian higher institutions. This call has been expressed at different times by various stakeholders in Nigeria's printing industry. For instance, the head of department of printing technology, Kano Polytechnic, Hussaini Abdullahi recently challenged universities in the country to start offering degree programs in printing technology. Abdullahi urged authorities in the various universities not to be

discouraged by the huge amount of funds required to start printing programs. Rather, the benefits of such a program should be the focus. The benefits accruable to the nation and the Nigerian printing industry in particular, are numerous. One, a degree program in print media management will give access to a broad range of students (science and non-science) who desire formal training in printing. As Afolabi (2012: 12) notes, it also presents a platform to provide career opportunities to young people who would have given training in printing a wide berth if restricted to technical college certificate and polytechnic diploma levels. Two, such a program, given its vocational nature will, in no small measure, contribute to reducing the deplorable level of unemployment in the country. Print media organizations, (whether small, medium or large scale, private or public) require managers to administer them efficiently and profitably. Running a successful print media outfit requires more than being a good printer with sound technical skills. According to Weihrich and Koontz (1994: 6), top-level managers require more than technical skills (knowledge and proficiency with respect to methods processes and procedures). The scholars highlight other skills needed by top-level managers (in addition to technical skills) to include; human skills: the ability to work with people Conceptual skills: the ability to recognize significant elements in situations and to understand the relationships among the elements Design skills: the ability to solve problems in ways that benefit the organization. The third benefit: a formal training in print media management is not only

While the various stakeholders in the A survey of the Printing Technology printing industry make the call for a Curriculum and Course Specifications degree program in printing and pass the (2009) approved by the National Board buck to the government, the onus of for Technical Education reveals that at making this a reality is actually on the ND level, out of a total number of 27 printing educators, print professional courses that are offered by students, bodies and print media investors. These only approximately 4% is management stakeholders must pool resources based. Technical/professional courses together to make proposals to relevant (print processes related) account for government agencies, universities and 7 0 % w h i l e g e n e r a l c o u r s e s colleges, and follow up with intense

desirable but also critical to resuscitating the dwindling fortunes of the printing industry (not just in Nigeria but globally). To run profitably in the new media landscape, print media organizations must have managers who must possess the right knowledge, skills and competencies with respect to traditional printing processes, information and communication technology, marketing, financial management and business communications, amongst others. In the past, the adoption of digital technologies has been touted as a winning strategy. But that, on its own, is not a saving grace. Now, the training of prudent managers who can navigate print media firms through the whirlwind in a multi-media business environment is needed more than ever before. Unfortunately, the present curriculum being used in training printing students in Nigerian polytechnics may not deliver much in this respect.

(communication in English, citizenship education etc) take 26%. At the HND level, the percentage of management courses is 26% while general courses take 9%. The figure for technical/professional courses is 65% Altogether, the percentage of general courses in the 2009 NBTE curriculum for printing technology is 18%, management courses get 14% of the course contents while technical/professional courses take the lion share of 68%. Apparently, this curriculum is printing technology focused; appropriate for training technical hands for print media organizations but certainly not appropriate for producing managers and administrators with print media management background.

Recommendations and Suggestions

MANAGEMENT COURSES, 14%

GENERAL COURSES, 18% TECHNICAL/ PROFESSIONAL COURSES, 68%

PERCENTAGE OF COURSE CATEGORY 2009 CURRICULLUM

advocacy and lobbying. The following a university in order improve their are suggested: knowledge as well as their academic status. Inclusion of print media management in existing degree programs in Nigerian Universities: universities offering degree programs in Conclusion media and communication may tap into this area of need by including print The mounting of a degree program in media management options into their print media management is an program offerings. This will not only imperative that will meet the needs of meet the needs of the print media not just the printing industry in Nigeria industry, it will also broaden the scope of but the graphic arts industry in general. While the graduates of technical colleges media training in Nigeria. and polytechnics (offering ND and HND) Extending the program offerings feed the lower level and middle level of Nigerian polytechnics offering manpower needs of the industry printing technology: polytechnics respectively, a degree program in print running HND in printing technology (like media management will supply the Yaba College of Technology, Kaduna industry with graduates who can, in the Polytechnic, and Federal Polytechnic, nearest future, occupy the upper-level Oko) need to extend their program management positions in print media offering to include a degree program in organizations. print media management in affiliation with Nigerian universities of technology offering courses in related fields. For the records, the Modibbo University of References Technology, Yola currently runs a technical education degree (print Abdulkareem, A.Y. & Oduwaiye, R.O. technology options). Also, the Federal (2008). "Higher Education and University of Technology, Minna has a B. Future Leadership for the Nigerian Tech progam in Information and Media Youth", a paper presented at Technology. The possibility of using HARPNET International Conference these as a platform for kick starting a at IITA, Ibadan. degree program in print media Afolabi, Abdulrasheed, management needs to be explored. (September/October, 2012). Needed: A Degree Course in Introduction of print media P r i n t i n g Te c h n o l o g y. management program via distance Printing News. Vol. 21, Issue 98 learning: the distance learning option Ajadi, Timothy. (2010). Prospects and can also be explored to put in place a Challenges of Open University in print media management degree Nigeria. European Journal of program in Nigeria. The operational Social Sciences. 12(3), pp 362-370. structures of the National Open Aluede,O, Idogho, P & Imonikhe, S. ( University of Nigeria (NOUN) could be 2012). Increasing access to put to good use to achieve this. This university education in Nigeria: option will be attractive to printing Present challenges and suggestions organizations' working hands who may for the future. The African wish to further their studies by Symposium. 3(12). Retrieved 17th undertaking a print relevant course. The February 2013 from Open University system, according to http://www.ncsu.edu/aern/TAS1 Ajadi (2010: 365), provides such people 2.1/TAS12.1Aluede.pdf. the opportunity to work and still attend Federal Government of Nigeria

(2004). National Policy on Education. Muthalaly, Susan. (December 5, 2005). Printing technology a Multidisciplinary Course. The Hindu (Online edition). Retrieved February 1, 2 0 1 3 f r o m www.hindu.com/2005/12/05/storie s/2005512050630800.htm National Board for Technical Education (2009). Printing Technology Curriculum and Course Specifications. Kaduna: NBTE Weihrich, Heinz and Koontz, Harold (1994). Management: A Global Perspective (10ed). New York: McGraw Hill Inc.