APNET - Training
The African Publishing Institute (API), which is the training programme of APNET, was established in 1992 to remedy the shortcomings identified in the publishing profession in Africa. Such short comings included: Institutional constraints; Shortage of qualified human resources; Importation of input for book production.
Starting Point: Creation of a department tasked with designing a curriculum to provide active professionals with intensive and relevant training over short periods of time. Initially, two branches of API existed, in Nairobi, (Kenya) and Lome (Togo). But, with the elaboration of a training curriculum in 1995, the branches were closed and the position of Training Coordinator was created at the Secretariat; in the same breath, implementation of training at national level, was delegated to National Publishers Associations (NPAs).
Objectives of API
To empower African publishers with relevant and constantly updated skills
To support African publishers in the production of quality books
To familiarise African publishers with advanced marketing techniques likely to enhance their competitiveness and facilitate their positioning on the international book market
To create a body of African publishing trainers and develop a database of APNET resource persons
In 1994, two offices existed in Nairobi and in Lome. The first stage of organising the API ended in 1995 with the adoption of a Curriculum, the closing of the Nairobi and Lome offices, the opening of a training coordinator position at the Secretariat and the decentralisation of training to a national level with the support of the national publishers associations (NPA).
The activities of the API are launched from the APNET Secretariat in Harare, in close collaboration with National Publishers Associations (NPAs) and the 5 Regional Representatives of APNET. These correspondents communicate with the Secretariat about the needs of training in a country or region and about working arrangements. The Training Committee, appointed by the Board, supervises the general training policy and the follow-up of the API training programme.
API training programme
The curriculum covers every facet of the profession, from the publishing process, through book marketing, the legal aspects of publishing, up to the application of new technologies in the production of books.
The training method borrows from the best standards for teaching adults. It combines methodological principles peculiar to that type of training with the experience gained from various workshops. A practical approach based on real life situations is highly favoured. Theory blends with practice.
The API curriculum is a flexible professional document designed to be reviewed and expanded on a regular basis, to integrate the latest innovations in book trade and the remarks and suggestions made by participants in the training sessions. The responses of the evaluation form filled by trainers and trainees at the end of each training session are analysed with great care.
Forms of Training
National seminars (workshops) are aimed at intermediate executives. They focus on basics and the whole publishing process, including the marketing of books. They are usually national in scope and depend on the needs expressed by the local Publishers Association.
Regional seminars are intended for top publishing executives, and preferably decision-makers. The workshops tackle general issues, such as inter-African and intra-African book trade, copyrights, co-publication, international bidding procedures, lobbying or advocacy.
The Certificate course is organised in collaboration with African universities whose curricula include publishing. It is intended for active publishing executives willing to enhance their knowledge in their speciality or earn a degree with a view to a promotion. This training offers a thorough study of 4 options: Management of a Publishing Concern; Editorial Functions; Book Design and Production; Book Marketing, Sales and Distribution. Participants can gain new professional knowledge of university standard, share on crucial issues relating to the African book industry and consolidate the foundations of inter-African cooperation in the book sector.
Four institutions support the Network in the implementation of that programme:
- Kwame Nkrumah University in Kumasi, Ghana
- Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya
- University of Yaoundé II, Cameroon
- University of Pretoria, South Africa
Upon the request of employers and with their financial contribution, APNET can help to secure attachments in publishing houses in other African countries for their staff members desirous of gaining practical experience in any specific area of publishing. Attachment periods vary from 1 month to 3 months.
Trainers are selected from the 5 APNET regions, based on their competence in publishing and related fields. Their level is regularly upgraded to enable them to assimilate API teaching methods and to update their professional knowledge. Organisers of seminars may call on these trainers anytime.
A Certificate of Attendance marks the participation in API workshops and seminars. But participants at the Certificate Course in the universities receive certificates recognised by these institutions and the industry.
APNET has endeavoured to publish a series of manuals based on the API curriculum in order to provide African book professionals with reference tools. The first titles of the series include Book Marketing Sales and Distribution; Communication Skills Manual and Editorial Functions. The French translation thereof is in progress.
Who Can Attend the Training Sessions?
Any professional member of a National Publishers Association (NPA).