Business News of 2013-12-20

Graphic expands printing capacity

The Graphic Communications Group Ltd Thursday added yet another chapter to its printing capacity with the inauguration of a multi-million dollar Quarter Fold press.
Fashioned mainly for printing books, the Quarter Fold is an expansion of GCGL’s KBA press with capacity to print 70,000 cuts of a 32-page book (full colour) in one hour and 20 million books within two months.
The development fulfils GCGL’s dream to be a modern general printing press instead of just a newspaper press, according to GCGL MD Kenneth Ashigbey.
At the launch, the Minister for Education, Prof Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang deplored the domination of foreign books and the stark dearth of Ghanaian authors in bookstores, as well as the situation where the few local writers usually would publish and print their works beyond the borders of Ghana owing to the lack of local capacity.
She said it was not proper for the country to persist in providing education that alienates its children but that it was time to provide education that grounds the learner and makes him or her part of the local environment.
“It is about producing the books your own children are going to read from. What do you think you do to the child’s imagination if he should pick his own textbook and see that it is printed…from Country X. In the end what are you teaching the children? You are already interfering with that child’s imagination and self-confidence, so when in the end they get out, they don’t even see opportunity that is around them…”
“…Let’s imagine this small boy going to school – the uniform is imported, the lunch-box is imported, even the food in the lunch-box is imported and then he goes and speaks a language nobody speaks, and then we say this person is educated. Clearly he is not educated and we are already setting him up on the path to alienation. We can have education that alienates the learner. The good education should ground the learner in what the learner has so that the learner would know that I can improve on what I inherited.”
She challenged GCGL to set high standards for others to follow especially in the book industry, saying there is a lot Graphic can do, stressing how important it is that Graphic has set out to print textbooks locally.
“You know it is very easy to go to a bookshop and simply ask yourself who are the Ghanaian writers and wonder why do we have so many non-Ghanaian writers. What is the problem if there is. And even as you are recommending books for your students to read in the lecture theatre, you notice that you don’t have as many Ghanaian authors as you should, and for those of us in the academia…, it was something that I found very, very worrisome because I couldn’t imagine who knew my students better than I did; who understood the cultures from which they were coming better than I did…in relation to somebody from another continent, from another country who had no clue what the Ghanaian student was and yet it was that person’s books that we were importing and making our students read…”
She also challenged local textbook writers to write from the Ghanaian child’s perspective to engender higher readership, saying children could be excited to read if writers understood the children’s reading needs.
The education minister also asked GCGL to invest in the paper production business to supply local needs instead of importing paper, adding that Graphic is a treasured national asset whose managers must target making it an authoritative publication acceptable for referencing even in academia.