In an attempt to get more Barbadians interested in statistics as a viable career choice, the Ministry of Education will be offering a National Development Scholarship in that discipline shortly.

Director of the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS), Angela Hunte, made this revelation last weekend, while addressing the organisation’s Awards Ceremony at the Dining Club, Building No.11, Newton Industrial Park, Christ Church.

She said: "I must thank the Ministry of Education for recognising the urgent need for professional statisticians in Barbados. So, I urge all young people who are thinking about their careers, to seriously consider the field of statistics."

In thanking the various vendors for cooperating with the BSS personnel as they conducted surveys across the island, Mrs. Hunte, however, made an appeal for greater cooperation from some business houses in this regard.

The BSS Director added: "Unfortunately, we still need the cooperation of several members of the business community in providing us with data needed to expand our products." She further noted" that this would improve the availability of information needed on a timely basis for sound decision making and to monitor the effects of policy implementation on the various sectors of the population."

Ms. Hunte further stated: "These businesses must see the provision of data as an obligation and a duty to the country in which they operate. In addition, partnership in this area would be of benefit not only to government in its planning process, but also, to the private sector in facilitating their management decisions…."

Meanwhile, Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), Professor Andrew Downes, said as Barbados moved up the development ladder, there would be a greater need for the?? provision of quantitative and qualitative data to guide technocrats in their economic planning.

Given this expectation, Professor Downes pointed out this information must be: valid and should reflect what one was seeking to measure; it must be reliable; the data must be consistent in its definition over time; and it must be credible.?? He also suggested that all data must be timely as it related to crisis management; there must be a high degree of periodicity to tackle a specific problem; and it must be accessible.

He noted that statistical information was critical at all levels of policy as well as the decision-making process and he cited trade negotiations; climate change; migration of skilled labour and the Millennium Development Goals, as areas where the data was critical to these outcomes.

Professor Downes indicated: "In terms of trade negotiations, we have to understand what the trade negotiators want … We have to have that interaction with the negotiators so that we can put proposals on the table.??

For my own personal experience, it was a source of frustration not having the information at my finger tips… Sometimes you have to engage as all negotiators know, in some degree of bluff…."

He appealed to government to increase the staff complement at the BSS to meet the changing needs of the various public and private sector departments.

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