Is Ghana a nation of superfluous experts with debatable expertise?

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Thu, 25 Mar 2021 Source: Kwaku Badu

In Ghana today, you hear all sorts of experts, ranging from economics, security, communication, labour, energy, governance, sanitation, finance to marketing, among others giving expert opinion on all sorts of subjects.

Indeed, there has been a sudden influx of experts in Ghana, who are often called upon to give an expert opinion on a variety of issues of public interests.

But the big question is: do the so-called experts really have the superlative expertise to transfer?

Who is an expert?

For the purposes of this periodical, I will define an expert as “a person with a high degree with skill in, or knowledge of a particular subject (Oxford English Dictionary).”

“An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience or occupation in a particular area of study (Wikipedia.org).”

What is expertise?

Expertise is the dexterity of an individual to apply the acquired skill or knowledge, also known as the motivation to transfer.

In other words, the level of expertise may be measured by highlighting the expert’s know how, experience and the amount of time spent in a particular field or area.

More importantly, an expert must have an unfailing skills, experience, competency, knowledge and ability to undertake actions.

In theory, therefore, the acquired experience and the amount of time that one has spent in a particular field or area are essential. Nevertheless, there is a correlation between the level of experience and the level of expertise.

Let us, for example, ponder over individuals who have been playing the guitar or learning how to play the piano for years if not decades, nonetheless, are stuck at a low level of adeptness (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993).

In the past, some of us inexorably raised grave concerns and further expressed scepticisms on the puzzling analyses expounded by some of the so-called experts.

I remember I had an opportunity to listen to several security experts on the 2019 alleged coup plot and I must confess that some of the analyses were unsatisfactory.

To be quite honest, I was extremely dumbfounded to hear a certain security expert challenging the security agencies somewhat bizarrely that the calibre of arms and munitions found in the possession of the suspects cannot even ‘end the life of a church mouse’, let alone staging a coup d’état.

Of course, it is possible that one may require a stockpile of arms and munitions to embark on a successful coup d’état. But is that all it takes to stage a successful coup d’état?

Even though I am not a security expert, common sense will tell me that it could also be possible for one to use a single makeshift rifle and kitchen knives to stage a coup d’état.

As a matter of fact, we are a nation fond of bestowing accolades on individuals unnecessarily.

It is an illustrative case of a nation of superfluous experts with debatable expertise.

I recall out of curiosity, I took time off my schedule to conduct a research on some of the ‘acclaimed’ experts in Ghana, but to my utter surprise, I could not find a single useful publication by any of the so-called experts. How bizarre?

Unfortunately, however, based on vague apprehension of an expert, we, Ghanaians, would blithesomely refer to every higher degree achiever as an expert.

The overarching question however is: does every higher degree achiever have expertise to transfer to the general public? I do not think so.

In sum, whether the so-called experts have the needed expertise to transfer to the wider population is a million dollar question.

K. Badu, UK.


Columnist: Kwaku Badu