Kurukshetra University as a breeding ground of printing professionals

Kurukshetra University established its own Publication Bureau in 1975 with a view to publish low-priced textbooks for undergraduate classes. Later on, the bureau merged with its Printing and Publication Department in 1978, continually engaging in printing jobs and offering BTech in Printing & Packaging. Moninder Kumar Moudgil, manager, Printing and Publication Department, Kurukshetra University tells Print & Publishing about the department. Tagging along the trends slipping into the industry through times, the course structure of BTech in Printing & Packaging offered by the Printing & Publication Department of Kurukshetra University is duly designed to nurture students in propounding knowledge and aspects of the current printing industry, with special study on packaging printing. “In addition to studies on technical and machinery know-how, contents of our curriculum exclusively cover a vast aspect of printing, such as role of graphics,” mentions Moninder. He points out as a matter of reality that the present growth in the industry is rather inclined more upon the packaging domain.

As of now, the department offers just one main course; but the plans have been laid down to introduce higher courses, such as MTech and PhD, in near future or probably right from the next academic session. In the current batch of the department’s BTech programme, there are 60 students, out of which 20 are girls. Number of girl students in the department keeps increasing in every new academic session. “There were barely 40 students in the previous batch; this year, we have 60 with straight away increase of 50 percent,” shares Moninder, adding, “Around a few years back the number of girl students in the department was countable on finger tips—let’s say around two or three in every batch.”

When enquired about the reason behind the increasing interest among girls in pursuing printing courses, Moninder attributes it to marvels of ultramodern machineries and technologies swelling in the current market. “The old notion of judging printing as a labour oriented job has long been discarded. This industry has now transformed into more of a computerised world; automations have brought drastic changes to traditional norms, giving everything painstakingly a cleaner environment. Such transition is one of the big reasons of the industry attracting female professionals,” he explains, adding that even parents nowadays consider choosing printing as career option for their kids.

“We organise seminars and workshops at regular intervals, inviting industry experts, at the department,” mentions Moninder. He says such interactive events help students know what is trending or happening in the industry. The seminars are very much a part of the curriculums. Students at the department take part in at least one seminar in every semester of their BTech programme. In this respect, Moninder advises students rather to be involved in field visits than confining only in the classroom to experience live running of machines and production procedures.

In order to provide the students the applied knowledge, the department has set up a lab equipped with two single-colour offset machines; two treadle presses; five wire stitching and six thread sewing machines; two cutters; three rulers and many others. “In addition to our portfolio of traditional machines and post-press equipments, we have two digital presses—Xerox 7020 and Riso EZ 570,” says Moninder. He adds that nothing is meant to be running or operating alone nowadays; offset presses have limitation when it comes to short-run production, so here we provide room to digital presses.

Moninder Kumar MoudgilMoninder mentions that students pursuing BTech at the department are highly privileged as the packaging printing market all over the world is now heading to a new level of growth. He further explains that their curriculum gives broader focus on die-cutting, specialty substrates, etc, which are essentials in packaging prints. Abandoning all negative thoughts and speculations over the beginning of the end of the era of printed newspapers, Moninder shrugs to say, “How come it would happen in India where the industry is gaining growth gradually day-by-day.” He mentions that the newspaper industry, which is the second largest sector (first being the automobile), will always survive in one way or the other.

He agrees to the fact that electronic devices and gadgets serve faster than printed newspapers in popping up breaking news. “But in semi-rural or non-metropolitan cities, circulations of printed newspapers keep rising and new titles are pouring in,” observes Moninder. “There was a time when we browsed for newspapers available in the market, only a few leading national dailies were available; but the scenario has changed a lot today as you can find a dozen of quality regional dailies, weeklies, tabloids circulating all around, gaining readership so successfully in rural and semi-urban geographies,” he explains.

Besides seasonal jobs like printing of question papers, calendars, annual reports, student magazines, and annual publications of the university, the Printing & Publication Department of Kurukshetra University prints Research Journal of Haryana Studies, Research Journal of Arts & Humanities, Digest of Indological Studies and all general books published by the varsity. Joining the debate on the sustainability of printed materials, Moninder opines ‘printing industry is eternal’ as it always be and will continue to print invitation cards of first birthdays to death anniversary information cards.

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