Religious Professional Exclusivity Hinders Development
Formed in 1963 and the leading recognisable institution for certifying Chattered Accountants in Ghana, Institute of Chattered Accountants Ghana popular know as CA-Ghana operated such a strict Professional exclusivity that most aspiring Chattered Accountants gave up on their dreams. When CA-Ghana decides to admit just five candidates for a given year, regardless of how good you are, you've got to to find a place on the fence. The fear in the sector wanted to maintain the scarcity of Chattered Accountants in the country so that they get excess jobs to do. The result is that many people gave up, institutions just made do with RSA Students and other accountants because the few Chattered Accountants had so much on their hands.
The ACCA came in, making a higher class Chattered Accountancy program available to the Ghana Public, you want it, you go for it. Learning materials are made available and no cap placed on admission. Today, CA Ghana advertises for applicants, today, ACCA Graduates are rated higher, today, CA Ghana is playing catch up. Many CA Ghana graduates go ahead to do ACCA to make them competitive
Some years ago, the only institution for training journalists was GIJ, they admitted 80 students every years of the thousands who applied, private media houses were forced to work with largely untrained journalists because the few trained were largely absorbed by the state owned media houses. Fortunately for GIJ, accreditation issues have slowed the growth of private media training institutions but one thing has changed, you can now be a journalist in Ghana without going to GIJ, unlike CA Ghana, GIJ remains on top but the truth is, they no long exercise monopoly.
Same with Ghana Journalist Association, you needed to be a journalist from GIJ before you are accepted as a member of the association, when the frontiers of the media was expanded, most journalist could not get in. Today, GJA desperately want people to pick forms but it has lost its attraction because most journalists learnt that tmt was possible to excel as a journalist without being a member.
Unfortunately, one institution that has maintained a stiff hand in this area is the Ghana Legal Counsel, regardless of how intelligent you are, regardless of how well you did in the acquisition of law degree, someone has to decide if you will enter the Ghana Law School.
This year’s law school entrance exams saw just 64 out of 525 students passing the exams, making it the worst record in the school’s history.
To apply for remarking, you have to fish out 3000 Cedis per paper. This is all because a group of people don't want law to become a career you can just decide to pursue, someone has to decide for you. If they decide to pass 50 this year, nothing stops them from failing millions who do well in the exams.
The result is that we have just a few lawyers charging exorbitant fees and always asking for cases to be adjourned so they attend to other cases.
The cost, the frustration and everything has caused many to give up on pursuing justice the lawful way and opting for revenge in many cases.
The few at the top don't want people to climb up, they are afraid of competition and so hide under these restrictions to ensure that they enjoy such unearned right to monopoly.
Can't we learn from societies that have opened the gate to every profession for all with the ability to enter have a crack at it?
Ghana currently has a Citizen to lawyer ratio of 1:80,000, the few lawyers are mostly in Accra, Kumasi and major cities. For those in remote areas, they only have the gods to look to for justice. But you see, the big men on top of this sector want that exclusivity protected so that their bellies are full even if it means denying the majority of the people justice.
We cannot develop strong institutions to direct governance towards the right path if there is a myth around law. We need more lawyers, we need more people to challenge the system.
Professional Exclusivity is detrimental to development and kills dreams. The gate should be opened for who have the potential to enter.
When ACCA brought Chattered Accountancy to a place where everyone with potential could chase such dream, has it killed the profession? How come Universities able to award doctorate degrees are not allowed to Chatter Lawyers.
The worst part is, when those challenging the system gets to the top, they become the worst form of what they criticised.
O Ama Ghana
Isaac Kyei Andoh