The reviewed Government textbook policy and the printing industry : ‘a case study of selected press houses in Kumasi’

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The textbook policy of the Ministry of Education is leaning itself to an era of great expansion in the textbook production industry in Ghana. The textbook market which was monopolized by the Government is finally being released unto the private sector. In light of this, the study sought to examine the current production capacity and practices of the printing industry and from the findings make recommendations that will aid local printing houses take maximum advantage of the new policy. The areas of study are the production capacity, the equipment holdings of the various press houses, their finances, personnel and their educational levels. The sector is divided into four main divisions by the National Association with regards to their sizes, equipment holdings, number of personnel and turnover. The findings realized that most of the press houses have the equipment for the prepress and the press, but lack equipment for the binding and finishing section. In order to to maximize the opportunities presented by the textbook policy, the local firms needed to build on their finishing capacity. It was again realized that almost all the press houses underutilize their equipment for the simple reason that there was not much work demand. Other concerns were in the areas of taxes on inputs to textbook production as well as quality measures, educational levels of employees and financing of book production. With the hypothesis it was found that the reviewed policy would have a positive impact on the press houses as this would increase their work demands and maximize their production thereby creating more job opportunities for the generation with the printing profession. This policy itself is an expansion in the indigenous printing industry, as the previous policy favoured foreign firms and was dominated by multinationals like Macmillan and Longman. Policy makers in the year 2001 announced at the 25 Annual Ghana Book Awards Ceremony in Accra, decided to review the textbook policy of 40%/60% ratio to 60%/40% in favour of the local press houses. Based on the findings, recommendations were made to improve the production practices in the printing industry. These include increasing local printing capacity and upgrading binding technique; employing people with professional background as well as organizing a periodic training for workers; creating strategic alliance with publishers and adopting quality management practices for a sustainable competitive advantage.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Economics and Industrial Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts, 2004