UPDATE|Ghana, Our inherent Classist approach to Job Qualification/Hiring; the Case of Caleb Afaglo.

I wrote this piece earlier on this year about our classist approach to job qualification and hiring.

And today, Caleb Afaglo, the IT head of SSNIT has been dismissed on allegations of  presenting fraudulent certificates.

Caleb, until his dismissal worked with several reputable companies and from all indications was good at his job; unfortunately being good at your job means nothing if you’re not academically qualified for it.

And that’s what my piece below was focused on.

Now before you proceed it’s important you understand that this isn’t an endorsement of his actions (if found to be true); just an insight into what can lead anyone to do this because of our system.

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Africans, most especially GHANAIANS have a classist approach to job qualification and hiring.

It’s one of the reasons why people with accents are given more air time on radio, why people with foreign degrees are given precedence over those with local ones.

Its also why no matter how you at your job you maybe, a person with more degrees and certificates will be considered before you.

We place more importance on titles than we do performance and because of this there are many incompetent people in positions of power, while others are unemployed.

Even in our political landscape politicians with much higher education belonging to “respectable” professions are more revered over others.

And this is because of the classism in our system  many people are oblivious to.

When the President has  released his first batch of ministers I was surprised by just how fascination people were with the selected minister’s credentials, i.e. schools they’ve been too, job experience, countries they’d traveled, titles and in some cases their ages.

People rolled over themselves with excitement and we’re extremely confident the selected ministers would surely deliver because of their background.

But if you were blind to the classism your reaction, it simple means you’re  probably classist yourself without knowing it.

noun: classism
prejudice against or in favor of people belonging to a particular social class.

Classism is held in place by a system of beliefs and cultural attitudes that ranks people according to economic status, family lineage, job status, level of education, and other divisions.

Middle-class and owning- or ruling-class people (dominant group members) are seen as smarter and more articulate than working-class and poor people (subordinated groups). In this way, dominant group members (middle-class and wealthy people) define for everyone else what is “normal” or “acceptable” in the class hierarchy. classism.org

Now for the record this is NOT about the selected ministers or why the President picked the, it’s  about our own reaction to their selection.

I belive that experience, age, titles ,gender and credentials etc don’t always translate to a job well done; you’re either good at your job or you’re not, period.

But many people are inherently classist in how they view job qualification which is why they place so much emphasis on who’s more “qualified” on paper for a job over who can actually “do the job ” and also why we place blind trust in people in these people.

Think about it, when you walk into your doctor’s office and he takes one look at you and determines you have cancer; how many of you question that diagnosis?

Very few.

Why? Because we trust in his title and because of this don’t feel inclined to ask questions or seek a second opinion.

Aside from our oblivious classism, ageism also seems to plague our country when it comes to job qualification.

The older a person is in a chosen profession, the more knowledgeable he/she is expected to be and because of this more qualified; which is why young people often serve under their much older colleagues.

But people shouldn’t be made to feel that they can never get a position because of their background, age or the many other factors people consider before hiring a person for a job.

If we continue to be like this, we will lose a lot of potentially great leaders, business men and women, innovators and a host of great people who’re often held back because of some of these factors.

For instance, I don’t get how anyone can presume Akua Donkor to be unintelligent and perhaps less qualified for anything just because of her inability to speak English or her complete lack of education; when she’s done better as a farmer than those with degrees and masters in the field.

You may not like her politics, which is fine; but you’ve got to respect that as a farmer she’s been extremely successful in her field.

And this isn’t to shame people for having titles and degrees (which they’ve earned), experience and in some cases age; it just shouldn’t be the ONLY reason why someone gets a job over another.

Until we change our approach to job hiring, it will makes sense that people will forge certificates and titles just to up their resume; because unfortunately it’s what most companies are interested in.

***these are my personal opinions and it’s not an authority on the subject. It’s to create civil debate and in the process shed more light on the topic that we can all learn from.