By Ese Awhotu
The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has said that its printing press, which is almost ready, would be commissioned in January, 2019.
In a statement, NOUN’s Director of Media and Publicity, Malam Ibrahim Sheme, said the university has acquired state of the art machines capable of handling the university’s printing needs.
He added that this was an innovative move by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, targeted at cutting the high cost of outsourcing the production of students’ study materials and maximising internal efficiency.
Sheme revealed that NOUN has registered a commercial entity with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) so that it can handle other customers’ printing jobs.
He quoted the Vice-Chancellor giving reasons for this move, saying, “First, many commercial printers force us to print more copies of study materials than we need, all in the name of the ‘the more, the cheaper’.
“This is more so for courses with few students. Yet we always end up with thousands of course materials as surplus, and eventually have to dispose of them at a loss.
“With our own press, we can print on demand for the exact number of students we have since our main focus is to serve the students and not to make exploitative profits that the outsourced commercial printers do.
“Secondly, we discovered that many Study Centres complain of lack of study materials, even though these are uploaded as PDF files on our website. But we do understand that many people would prefer to have the printed versions as they may not have access to internet at all times.
“The cumbersome process of outsourcing the printing of the study materials means that students will have to wait for weeks or even months before the materials get to them. With the establishment of of our own press, we have now eliminated the need for contracting the printing of any type of printed material – whether study materials, calendars, banners, posters, fliers, journals, magazines, academic books, or monographs.”
Adamu added: “Thirdly, we can control the quality of the output – particularly the layout, design and graphics, thus enriching the content of the materials. This is because of the press and the course developers and lecturers are all in the same place, our Abuja headquarters.
“So it is easy to effect corrections, thus saving time, which is impossible with outsourced printers who print with many errors since they are not academics and therefore have no intellectual understanding of what they are printing.”
The Vice-Chancellor stated that the NOUN Press would compete with any printing press in the country, considering the vast array of modern printing machines it has acquired.
“We are happy, therefore, to state that we have completely stopped giving out contract for any type of printing in the National Open University of Nigeria,” he said.