The Ceramics Researchers Association of Nigeria (CeRAN) on Monday called for the inculcation of the study of ceramics art, science, technology and engineering in the curriculum of tertiary institutions.
The association’s President, Prof. Patrick Oaikhinan, who made the call in Lagos, said that inadequate knowledge of the industry had given room for the production of sub-standard goods.
Oaikhinan, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that it was only when there was adequate number of professionals in the industry that the nation could check sub-standard products.
He noted that the country had only a professor of ceramics in the industry.
He said there was a need to build manpower in the industry, adding that there were enough raw materials and trainable human resources.
“There is also a need to encourage professionals in the industry as there is only one professor in the country as a whole,’’ he said.
Oaikhinan said the first thing in knowing and promoting ceramics technology was having an educational programme on ceramics science, technology and engineering.
“The study of ceramics should be incorporated into our educational programme.
“It should not be considered as ceramics arts because we have ceramics art, science, technology and engineering.
“To build awareness, we can leverage on the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Scheme because it is a one year skills acquisition and entrepreneurship programme.
“This is another way to cultivate people’s awareness and interest in the industry,’’ Oaikhinan said.
The CeRAN president urged government at all levels to intervene, saying the industry could not do much to promote its own growth without the public sector’s support.
He said ceramics production was worth the effort as it could generate tremendous revenue for the country.
Oaikhinan said that due to inadequate knowledge, some ceramic producers went to mining sites, dug out minerals and take such to the factory for processing without researching into the minerals’ history.
“When one goes to see a medical doctor, he will ask for your history before prescribing medications or treatment for you, this should also count for ceramics.
“In ceramics processing, we need to characterise the minerals, get to know their chemical composition, the physical and mechanical properties.
“Based on that, one can now formulate a composition and process it through a normal ceramic procedure that will lead to meeting the required standard.
“Another means of tackling sub-standard products is to have a quality control laboratory where samples of the product will be checked before it goes through final processing,’’ he said.
According to Oaikhinan, the lack of equipment and constant importation of ceramic products are also challenges in the industry.
He said if these challenges were tackled, it could improve the quality and standard of locally produced ceramics.
The CeRAN president regretted that all equipment used in ceramics production in Nigeria were imported.
He said it was wrong to import such equipment without knowing the peculiarity of the material to be processed.
“Government needs to change the policy concerning ceramics technology, this will help to reduce the rate of importation,’’ Oaikhinan said.
NAN reports that a 2012 study by WinterGreen Research, an independent research organisation, revealed that the ceramics market is hugely profitable with markets growing across countries.
The study is on Ceramics Market Shares, Strategy, and Forecasts Worldwide from 2012 to 2018.
According to the study, worldwide markets are poised to grow steadily as developing countries’ population achieve middle class and create demand for ceramic products.
The study’s lead author, Susan Eustis consideration of the ceramics market forecasts indicate that the markets currently at 279 billion dollars will reach 408 billion dollars by 2018.
She said that growth would come as more emphasis was placed on creating jobs for the middle class worldwide.