Yaw Oti-Boateng (middle) addressing the media
THE ASHANTI regional branch of the Ghana Printing Association (GPA) has appealed to the government and other relevant economic management entities to come out with pragmatic policies to save their businesses from collapsing.
The printing industry throughout Ghana is said to have been confronted with serious operational challenges since the introduction of the free Senior High School (SHS) educational policy, leading to its gradual deterioration.
Members of the association praised the government for introducing the free SHS programme, but lamented that procurement of educational materials such as exercise books and note books had been centralized at the national headquarters.
This situation, according to the chairman of the association, is contrary to the former arrangement where procurement was done at schools and district levels, thereby depriving the members of their jobs.
At a press briefing held in Kumasi on Tuesday, Yaw Oti- Boateng, acting chairman of the association, said the abolishment of supply of supplementary text books to government schools had also rendered them jobless.
He said before the free education policy was rolled out, schools were permitted to procure supplementary text books in addition to the one supplied by the government, which created jobs for them.
The acting Chairman of Ghana Printing Association reiterated that alleged involvement of too many politicians in the printing industry had had adverse effects in their jobs since some politicians who were involved in the printing business had taken over miniature jobs and contracts such as printing of past questions for schools.
Mr. Oti-Boateng disclosed that the Ghana Education Service (GES) previously mandated directors of metropolitan, municipal and district education directors to contract external test providers to supply them with examination materials.
This also, he recalled, provided members of the printing industry jobs, since test providers used to sublet the printing aspect to printers.
But after the Junior High School (JHS) form two students returned to school, the government had allegedly contracted foreign companies from China and India to supply equipment and A4 copy papers to all metropolitan municipal and district education directors across the country for the printing of examination questions.
Mr. Oti- Boateng also observed that there was lack of policy direction for the printing industry by the government as compared to other industries in the country.
“We have observed with keen interest that the government is coming up with policies and interventions for some industries like Creative Arts to save jobs,” he said.
Members of the association threatened to stage series of demonstrations across the country if the government failed to take urgent steps to address their concerns.
FROM David Afum, Kumasi